Charter Review Committee
July 8, 2004
Regular Meeting Minutes
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER: Acting Chair John Enders called the Ashland Charter Review Committee meeting to order at 4:03 p.m. on July 8, 2004 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Members Present: Roy Bashaw, Hal Cloer, Kate Culbertson, John Enders, Laurie MacGraw, Pam Marsh, Keith Massie, Michael Riedeman and Carole Wheeldon. Donald Montgomery arrived at 4:23 p.m.
Member Absent: None
Staff Present: Mike Franell, City Attorney
Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst, Staff Liaison to the CRC
Nancy Slocum, Clerk
I. CONSENT AGENDA
MacGraw/Wheeldon m/s to approve the minutes with the correction that Hal Cloer was currently a member of the Jackson County Charter Review Committee. Motion passes unanimously.
II. PUBLIC FORUM
Bryan Holley, 324 Liberty, a member of the Tree Commission and ad hoc member of the Citizens for Responsible Government, thanked the committee for making public participation a priority in the review process. He suggested that political issues be forwarded to the League of Women Voters as possible election topics. Holley also suggested limited use of a consultant for the review process.
Holley would like the revised charter changed to a City Manager form of government, have elected members of the Budget Committee, provide salaries to City Councilors and administer the Parks Department within existing city structures.
Former City Administrator Brian Almquist was asked to give a brief presentation on his experience of the legal, practical and political issues within the current charter. The legal issues included preserving the general grant powers (powers that the City and the State have in common), whether the revised charter ballot measure should contain more than one issue and perhaps be ruled unconstitutional, looking at the special provisions in the charter that may or may not need to be preserved such as the County levying road tax within the City limits, shifting the Police Chief’s powers and duties to the municipal code, questions regarding the dedication of Parks Department land to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, outdated levies, and the City’s ability to dispose of water rights. Practical issues include minor potential problems within the charter and the public’s reluctance to change what does not seem broke, the autonomous Parks Department’s protection against budge cuts, the potential for City Councilors to direct staff, and the Mayor’s ability to veto Council decisions. Mr. Almquist recommended limiting the political special interest issues. He thought public and press involvement very important and emphasized the need to use local resources and recommended not hiring a consultant.
Committee discussed the “council/management” form of government versus a “strong mayor” form of government. Ashland is currently only one in five cities in Oregon with a “strong mayor” form of government. Mr. Almquist recommended that City Administrator and City Attorney appointments be made equally by the City Council and Mayor.
Some committee members wondered about public opinion in regards to revising the charter. Committee requested future discussion on electing City Councilors using the precinct versus position method. Almquist recommended Council positions as citizens could run against an individual they disagreed with. Michael Riedeman wanted to discuss the lack of Council representation from Southern Oregon University at a future meeting.
IV. OPERATING PROCEDURES
Committee asked City Attorney Mike Franell for clarification on the use of Roberts Rules of Orders. Franell explained that Roberts Rules could be an inefficient use of time; therefore the committee had the option of using Roberts Rules when and if problems arose. Laurie MacGraw asked if the committee make a technical mistake, could a vote be negated. Franell answered no, not unless a point of order was made at the time of the vote.
Committee discussed and amended a sample list of policies and procedures compiled from other Charter Review Committees from around the state. Discussion included how to include public testimony on agenda items.
MOTION: Riedeman/Carole Wheeldon m/s that, recognizing that public input is important; the Public Forum section of the agenda would be limited to items not on the agenda (15 minutes total, each speaker limited to 3 minutes) and limited public input would be allowed on each agenda item. Motion passed unanimously.
Committee decided to leave time limits vague and revisit the issue if problems arise in the future.
Committee discussed adding a policy to avoid repeating discussions if one member of the committee is absent. A topic could be revisited if the committee passed “a motion to reconsider.” The committee was in favor of such a policy and asked staff to draft one for consideration at the next meeting.
Other polices discussed included subcommittees, motions (including a discussion of the term “consensus”) and the use of staff. Committee agreed to discuss policies specific to a consultant at the next meeting.
V. CHARTER REVIEW CONSULTANT – Tabled.
VI. PUBLIC INPUT / PUBLIC EDUCATION
Keith Massie asked about public meeting notification. He thought a legal notice in the classified was not sufficient. Seltzer volunteered to develop a marketing plan outlining the type of audience, options for publicity and costs. The rest of the discussion was tabled.
VII.ELECT CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR
Riedeman inquired about the leadership experience of other committee members.
MOTION: Massie/Pam Marsh m/s to elect John Enders as chair and Wheeldon as Vice Chair. Motioned passed 9-1.
Committee asked the Chair and Vice Chair to work together as a team.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:08 p.m.