Charter Review Committee
September 16, 2004
Regular Meeting Minutes
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
I. CALL TO ORDER: Chair John Enders called the Ashland Charter Review Committee meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. on September 16, 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, Donald Montgomery, Michael Riedeman and Carole Wheeldon
Member Absent: None
Staff Present: Mike Franell, City Attorney
Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst, Staff Liaison
Nancy Slocum, Clerk
II. PUBLIC FORUM No one spoke.
III. PRESENTATION BY CATHY SHAW
Seltzer announced that former Mayor Shaw would arrive late. Item was tabled until she arrived.
IV. DISCUSSION OF PRESENTATION BY TOM SPONSLER
Commissioner Bashaw completed the worksheet provided by Sponsler. He agreed with Massie that the Committee needed Sponsler to provide a breakdown of outdated provisions in the existing charter. He was in favor of contracting with Sponsler as an objective voice.
MOTION: Bashaw moved that Sponsler be identified as the Committee consultant. His first task would include a review of the existing charter highlighting outdated provisions, provisions that would service better as an ordinance and provisions covered by state law. Wheeldon seconded the motion.
DISCUSSION: Enders noted that Sponsler's presentation covered some of the previously listed "Expectations of the Charter Review and Revision Consultant." Cloer thought the decision should be delayed as perhaps committee members or staff could perform the work. Bashaw wondered if City Attorney Franell would have time. Franell said perhaps by the end of October or November. Committee agreed that staff was too busy.
Massie would like to see a timeline/work plan for future meetings before hiring Sponsler. Montgomery would like to hire Sponsler providing him with a specific statement of work. Wheeldon agreed, but beforehand, the Committee needed to identify Sponsler's scope of work and discuss amending the existing charter versus using a model charter.
Montgomery was concerned that the motion needed to include boundaries as to number of hours and the amount of money. Seltzer said the City contract would specify these items.
VOTE: Motion passed unanimously.
III. PRESENTATION BY CATHY SHAW
Former Mayor Cathy Shaw noted that the "strong mayor" form of government as outlined in the present charter has served Ashland well. She believed it allowed options depending upon the specific mayor and included many checks and balances. With a "weak mayor" form, staff has more power and is not accountable to the will of the voters. Wheeldon thought it difficult to find a mayor with management skills. Shaw noted her lack of management skills, but thought the voters recognized her potential.
Bashaw asked Shaw if it bothered her to have no voting rights on the City Council. Shaw said no, but when she did vote in a tie situation, it was important. She saw the mayor as the liaison between the city administrator and the community and between the policy makers and the community. Adversity allows for healthy dialogue.
Cloer believed the reality of how Ashland was governed was not consistent with the wording within the current charter. He noted that Sponsler had agreed. MacGraw asked Shaw about the uniqueness of Ashland's strong mayor form of government. Shaw noted that Talent was similar. She saw a community that works, has more citizen participation, supports taxes, and executes state land use laws. She also supported a single focus Parks Commission.
Riedeman wondered how to avoid a potential power struggle between the mayor and city administrator. Shaw said the mayor "sets the tone." The city administrator's role is to carry out the tone of the mayor and city council.
Enders wondered about the necessity of other elected officials such as the Judge and City Recorder. Shaw said these salaries could be more efficient and perhaps it would be more appropriate, but she thought the voters would not support a change. The community likes the balance of power. When power moves towards staff, there is a fundamental breakdown. In addition, the mayor is perceived as being accessible, the staff not so. Bashaw wonders if this form of government limits potential applicants. Shaw says you want a unique person that values a collaborative process, not power.
V. DISCUSSION OF MEMO FROM PAM MARSH
Committee review Marsh's memo dated September 10, 2004.Wheeldon asked Franell if there would be legal difficulty with a single subject ballot measure. Franell said if the measure included a full charter amendment, then no. A problem could occur if the charter was broken down into two distinct issues.
Wheeldon asked if a special election could be called. Seltzer reported that Sponsler said had said yes, but it would have to be held on one of the four pre-selected dates and the City would have to pay the cost of the special election. Seltzer noted that the City Council was willing to budget the cost of a special election. Regular elections are held in November on even number years. Cloer said he would lobby the committee to use a general election for maximum turnout.
Enders recommended forming a subcommittee to look at charter review timelines with their associated milestones. Wheeldon volunteered to head the subcommittee. Massie suggested staff see when the next general election would be held, if November 2005, then consider a special election. Wheeldon, Marsh, Selzer and Montgomery volunteered for the subcommittee. The subcommittee would use Marsh's memo as a guide and attempt to have their task finished within three weeks. Cloer suggested involving the City Council at key points in the charter review process.
VI. NEXT MEETING
The next committee meeting was scheduled for October 7th at 7:00 p.m. Former City Attorney, Paul Nolte was scheduled for a short presentation. Enders suggested Medford's Mayor Lindsey Barriman as a potential future speaker.
VII. ACTION ITEMS / RECAP
The meeting was adjourned at 9:01 p.m.