ORANGE - Old and new officers will lead the Town Plan and Zoning Commission in 2004.

Although a unanimous bipartisan vote kept Chairman Michael Paolini in his seat, disagreement was raised over the vice-chairmanship.

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Ten-year member Judy Smith-Morgan nominated current commissioner Walter Clark.

Smith Morgan cited Clark's proactive approach to zoning and experience in nominating him.

Clark was put in the position of having to second the nomination himself. Zoners Glen Pearson and Daryl DiPaolo had another candidate in mind - Pearson.

When Clark's nomination didn't pass DiPaolo quickly nominated Pearson. He passed in a 3-0-2 vote with Smith Morgan and Clark abstaining.

Clark said it was "improper and inappropriate" to elect Pearson, who had only been on the commission for two months to such a critical position.

But Paolini argued back to Clark expressing a different opinion.

"I have known Glen a long time and he knows more about running meetings He doesn't need to know zoning. He was the chairman of the Orange Board of Education so he has experience running meetings," Paolini said.

"As a matter of courtesy you shouldn't elect someone with only two months experience who wasn't even elected to the position," Clark said.

First Selectman Mitchell Goldblatt subsequently appointed Pearson to fill out the vacancy created when former commissioner Roy Cuzzocrero ran for and won a seat on the Board of Selectmen in November.

Smith-Morgan said she believes Clark is deserving of the opportunity to be Vice Chairman.

"His two years of experience demonstrate he is a true leader. He is always thoroughly prepared. The town would be well served to have an individual with Beau's intelligence and integrity as Vice Chairman," Smith-Morgan said.

Clark said Pearson wasn't doing a bad job for the time he has been on the commission.

"While I don't always agree with Glen in the short time he has been on the commission he has done a good job. He has been involved and asked questions," Clark said.