Charter Review Committee
December 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 7:00 p.m. on December 16, 2004 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Members Present: Roy Bashaw, Hal Cloer, John Enders, Pam Marsh, Keith Massie, Donald Montgomery, Michael Riedeman and Carole Wheeldon
Member Absent: Kate Culbertson
Staff Present: Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst, Staff Liaison
Mike Franell, City Attorney
Wheeldon/Riedeman m/s to approve the minutes of the December 2, 2004 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.
II. PUBLIC FORUM No one spoke.
III. White Paper Presentations
On behalf of the Charter Review Committee, Enders expressed appreciation for the work of committee member Roy Bashaw who recently retired from the committee.
There was discussion about bringing all the identified issues forward to the public. The committee agreed that the issues are proposals and are not final decisions. Wheeldon reminds the committee that the issues are coming from different sources and that it would be helpful to include in the background of the white paper how the issue arose.
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.
#b Should the city recorder and judge be elected positions? What about compensation?
Enders gave a brief summary of his paper. Wheeldon asked for clarification about the statement that the "city recorder can investigate citizen complaints regarding the Mayor, Council or City Administrator and his or her staff, and report freely on the findings." Wheeldon noted that this task is not identified as a duty of the city recorder in the charter and requested that the statement be removed. Enders agreed and will place it in the background.
There was some discussion as to why and how this statement was included. Montgomery noted that it implies an informal ethics process implying that the recorder has the powers of an ethics officer. City Attorney Franell was asked to comment. Franell explained that the current mayor occasionally has asked the recorder to gather information and work directly with citizens who have complaints about the mayor or council or staff. Montgomery asks what power does this person have to accomplish this? Franell explained that the recorder has no power or authority to do anything with that information, it is simply a tool that the Mayor has used for some citizen complaints. Wheeldon asked Franell to explain the normal route if someone believes there is an ethics violation. Franell explained a citizen comes forward to the State Standards and Practices Commission who has the authority to take action. Massie reiterated that the charter does not give this type of power to the recorder.
It was agreed that this statement be removed from the white paper.
Massie noted that the charter does not require that the judge be a licensed attorney in the State of Oregon. If the committee does leave the judge position in the charter, the committee should add language that requires the candidates by licensed to practice law in Oregon.
Riedeman asked that leading statements be removed from the paper. Cloer noted that the model charter does not include either the judge or the city recorder. He wonders if in the future a municipal court might be eliminated and cases be heard by the county/justice of the peace.
There was some discussion about salaries for the two positions and questions about the formulas. Massie expressed concern that the salaries increase at a great rate than department heads. Massie noted that if the two positions are elected, newly elected persons should not receive the same salary as the outgoing official but rather start a beginning salary again. Massie asked that the salary structure be addressed more fully and be included in the background.
#c Should the Parks Commission be elected? Should the powers of the commission change? What are the issues related to the organization of the parks Department?
MacGraw gave a brief summary of her paper and noted that she did not include all the various scenarios of how the Parks Commission/Department could be configured.
There was much discussion about the various statements in the paper and the merits of including information about the creation of a Parks district. Massie believes that the information should remain in the charter, because it informs the community that there may be an entirely new model that might be beneficial to the community. Massie asks that an introductory statement precede the summary to the effect that the committee is looking at the function and role of the commission and the function of the administration and possible ways to structure these might include and then list the various scenarios that have been identified.
MacGraw was complimented on her thoroughness. Enders suggested boiling down the paper and offered to help edit the paper.
#d Should the council be elected by position?
Massie gave a brief summary on the election of council members by wards. There was some discussion on if this is of importance to the community. Massie will incorporate comments into the paper and agreed that the committee will learn at the forum if the public is interested in this issue.
#g Should provisions for the City Band remain in the Charter?
Enders reported on the white paper for the city band for Kate Culbertson and gave a brief summary. Wheeldon was curious as to how the $57,000 yearly allocation is spent. Massie suggested that additional language be included about funding continuing at a certain level with a certain increase. Don't specify a dollar amount.
#h What are the uses related to the Planning Commission?
Riedeman summarized his white paper and stated that this paper is about whether the council should have the decision making power to appoint planning commissioners rather than the power resting only with the Mayor.
Riedeman clarified that the council has approval power once the Mayor makes a recommendation but the council cannot bring forth a list of candidates. Cloer is uneasy with the nature of the paper. He explained that the make-up of the commission is stated in the ordinance and positions must be filled that match those requirements. He is concerned about the statement that there was possible litigation regarding a previous appointment.
Franell explained that ORS 227.010 relates to the composition of the planning commission by their occupation.
IV Update from Public Outreach Committee
Wheeldon will send e-mail notes to the group regarding public outreach.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.