Charter Review Committee
December 2, 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 7:02 p.m. on December 2, 2004 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Members Present: Roy Bashaw, Hal Cloer, Kate Culbertson, John Enders, Pam Marsh, Keith Massie, Donald Montgomery, Michael Riedeman and Carole Wheeldon
Member Absent: Laurie MacGraw
Staff Present: Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst, Staff Liaison
Mike Franell, City Attorney
Bashaw/Culbertson m/s to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2004 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.
II. PUBLIC FORUM No one spoke.
III. White Paper Presentations
Enders explained that the white papers are working documents and research papers. They are meant to provide information to the full committee on the various issues and include pros and cons on each issue. They do not represent a definitive position of the committee. The white papers will be distilled and improved over the next few weeks. They will be available for the public at the public forum on January 20, 2005. The purpose of tonight's meeting is to give each committee member an opportunity to comment on each paper to the extent that it is as inclusive as possible, that it covers all the possible pros and cons on each issue and request additional research if necessary.
#1 Should the current from of government change from mayor/council to council /manager? Should the mayor's veto ability change to a vote?
Montgomery gave a brief summary of his paper on various forms of local government. Each committee members spoke and gave input on the paper and suggestions for improvements, how to make it more concise and eventually more readable for the general public. It was suggested that a clearer description of each form of government be provided rather than using the terms "weak mayor" and "strong mayor" which are misleading.
Marsh expressed the importance of understanding the intended outcome in order to better craft a hybrid form of government that works best for Ashland. Wheeldon would like to establish a focus group to more fully explore this issue. The group should include people who understand organizational structure, local government, policy versus administration etc. Riedeman noted that the organizational charts included in the paper were particularly helpful.
Massie commented that there are actually two issues within this topic. Form of government and powers of the Mayor. He suggests it may be best to have two separate papers each addressing the different issue. Cloer suggested formatting the issue by posing questions; should the mayor be able to vote, should the mayor retain veto power.
The committee agreed that both issues are complicated and recognize that the papers must be as inclusive as possible yet clear, concise and palatable to the reader. Montgomery will incorporate the comments into his paper.
#2. Should the number of councilors increase?
Riedeman presented an overview of his white paper, which included information on the number of councilors in other Oregon cities with population similar to Ashland. The committee expressed appreciation of the work and felt that no other information or adjustments needed to be made.
#3. What provisions should there be for annexations by the City?
Massie gave a brief overview of the paper. The committee expressed appreciation with the content of the paper and the layout.
A number of committee members asked how this issue made it on the list. Massie explained that he had brought it forward noting that the current charter did not contain provisions for annexations. Committee members questioned whether bringing something forward like this might distract people's attention for more important issues. Others commented that it was not the committee purview to determine what issues are more or less important.
#4. Should police and fire remain as separate departments"?
Marsh presented a brief overview of the paper and then asked how this issue got on the list. It was pointed out that in the Sponsler charter mark-up it was identified as an issue. Again, there was discussion about bringing "non-issues" forward to the community and more discussion about the committee's role in determining whether one issue has greater importance over another.
Riedeman commented that while the committee did get through the agenda and everyone had an opportunity to comment on the individual papers, he feels that committee needs to have a discussion about each of the issues not just the papers. Other expressed similar sentiments and hope to have those discussions at the first meeting in January.
IV: Action Items/Recap from Committee members
Wheeldon reminded the pubic involvement sub committee (Wheeldon, Montgomery and Marsh) to meet in the Rogue River Room at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday December 9 to discuss room set-up for the forum.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.