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2019 Media Releases

July 10, 2019
Media Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, City Communications, 402-441-7831

Mayor Nominates Four to Serve on Planning Commission and LES Board

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced her selections to fill vacancies on the Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Lincoln Electric System (LES) Administrative Board. The Mayor has nominated Shams Al-Badry and Cindy Ryman Yost to serve on the Planning Commission, and Karen Griffin and David Spinar to serve on the LES Board.

Two seats on the Planning Commission were left vacant by the resignation of Maja Harris and appointment of Sändra Washington to the City Council. Two vacancies on the LES Board were created by Dan Marvin's appointment as the City's Director of Urban Development and Tammy Ward's election to the City Council.

"Shams, Cindy, Karen, and David offer a wide range of experience, skills, and perspectives that will help shape a bright future for our community," Mayor Gaylor Baird said. "I am grateful that they have volunteered to serve in these important roles."

Shams Al-Badry is an Academic Advisor in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences. She previously was a Teach for America Corps member at an Early Childhood Education Center in Kansas City. As a Real Change Fellow, she lobbied on behalf of Americans living in poverty. She is on the boards of the YWCA of Lincoln, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Lincoln and New Leaders Council of Omaha and chairs a subcommittee for the Superintendent's Facilities Advisory Committee for Lincoln Public Schools (LPS).

"I am excited for the opportunity to serve our community in a new capacity," Al-Badry said. "As a member of the Planning Commission, I hope to focus on continuing to advance Lincoln economically and to plan and develop for an equitable quality of life for all residents."

Cindy Ryman Yost is a nonprofit human services professional who works on issues impacting children and families and is currently on the leadership team of CEDARS Youth Services. She was the Executive Director of the Lincoln Children's Museum and Interim Executive Director of the YWCA. She has served on the LPS Strategic Planning Committee and as Parent Committee Chair for the LPS Superintendent search process. Ryman Yost has also been a Junior Achievement classroom volunteer and a Lincoln Journal Star Community Columnist. She was appointed to the Nebraska Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Judicial Nominating Commission for the Nebraska Court of Appeals.

"Lincoln is a vibrant, growing, welcoming community," Ryman Yost said. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve the City and County in this role."

Karen Griffin is a professional geologist with more than 25 years of experience. She is currently a Vice President and the Groundwater Technical Leader for Olsson, where her work focuses on protecting and restoring our groundwater and surface water resources. She received her bachelor's degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and her master's degree from the University of California in Santa Barbara. As an environmental geologist, she worked in California and Colorado before moving back to her hometown of Lincoln in 2004. She has volunteered the Great Plains Trails Network, Lincoln Literacy and other community organizations

"I would be honored to serve on the LES board to help guide LES's strategic plan to ensure we are moving forward on green energy initiatives that are so important for our community and the environment," Griffin said. "In my professional career, I've worked on water sustainability issues across our state. As a community volunteer for the LES board, I will work hard supporting LES's efforts to bring reliable, cost effective, sustainable energy to our community."

David Spinar is a Senior Vice President and Financial Planner at RBC Wealth Management. He was previously the Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer for the Omaha-based firm, Securities America. He graduated from UNL and has a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He has volunteered as a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Continuing Education Content Committee for 15 years and has earned recognition by the Financial Planning Association as Chairman of the Broker-Dealer Compliance Council. Spinar also serves as President of the Open Sky Policy Institute Board of Directors.

"I would be honored to serve my fellow residents as a member of the LES Board," Spinar said. "I am confident that my many years of volunteerism and professional commitment to fiduciary service make me well qualified for this role. I also hope to be a resource to help LES continue in its commitment to offer safe, reliable, affordable, and responsibly sourced public power now and for the future."

The Planning Commission is nine-member body responsible for advising the City Council and County Board on planning and development matters. The Mayor appoints members for six-year staggered terms with concurrence of the City Council and County Board.

The LES Board is a nine-member body responsible for the control and management of the property, personnel, facilities, equipment, and finances of LES. Members are appointed for three-year terms by the Mayor with the concurrence of the City Council, and members may serve no more than three terms.

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