Charter Review Committee
January 6, 2005
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 January 6, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Members Present: 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
Enders announced that Roy Bashaw had resigned from the committee.
Cloer / Riedeman m/s to approve the minutes of the December 16, 2004 as amended to correct committee members present. Motion passed unanimously.
II. PUBLIC FORUM: Art Bullock, 791 Glendower, commended the committee for their work thus far, but noted four stumbling blocks to the charter review process. First, the process needed more input from citizens not attorneys, mayors and city administrators. Second, problems as outlined in the White Papers need to be clearly defined. He thought the White Papers were currently "solution-oriented." Third, Bullock thought many proposed changes to the charter would result in a dramatic shift of power. He said the real issue is who decides Ashland's future - staff, council or citizens. Lastly, he thought the upcoming Public Forum, while allowing for input, would not allow a dialogue among citizens.
Wheeldon asked Bullock his method for interviewing citizens and his suggestions for increasing citizen participation. Bullock said he had gone door-to-door in regards to the Nevada Street LID and conducted pre and post election interviews with citizens. He suggested the committee first decide if his four stumbling blocks exist.
Enders clarified that the committee had made no decisions on issues and actively invites public input at every meeting and at the public forum. Riedeman noted that the committee had made decisions on how to collect its information and how to put it forth. Montgomery said the committee solicited input from persons who had direct contact with the current Charter. He noted that White Papers were designed to provide a framework for public discussion.
III. DISCUSSION OF FINAL DRAFT OF WHITE PAPERS
Enders invited City Recorder Barbara Christensen to address the committee. Christensen wished to clear up misunderstandings regarding her duties as city recorder as described in the draft White Paper. She noted that she did not "investigate" complaints against staff, but only provided information. She saw her position as a public relations tool defusing conflicts. Christensen helps citizens understand the process and considered herself a neutral base. She noted that the Ashland Municipal Code listed the official duties of her office. The City Recorder was the elections officer for the City. As the only full-time elected official, she felt no pressure from the Mayor or City Administrator on election issues. She was part of the auditing committee and she recommended her defined duty as financial auditor be clarified.
(Massie left the meeting at 7:35 p.m.)
Christensen noted the White Paper's mention of a cost associated with elections. She said the City incurred no cost as City elections were done in conjunction with a general election where the county assumed the cost.
Enders asked if a city recorder could possibly be elected that had a political agenda but not the qualifications. Christensen asked the committee to look at history - no one had ever been elected that was not qualified. She said the recorder's duties have not changed over time and that city recorders receive ongoing education.
MacGraw asked if a majority of Oregon recorders were appointed rather than elected. Christensen said yes, but once you change the way Ashland's city recorder obtained office, you could not change back.
Enders suggested rearranging items III and IV on the agenda. Committee agreed.
IV. UPDATE FROM PUBLIC OUTREACH COMMITTEE
As the committee's goal was to provide a draft charter to the City Council by May, Wheeldon suggested that after the public forum the committee meet more frequently or extend their meeting time.
Wheeldon announced that the Public Outreach Subcommittee would present the committee with suggestions for synthesizing the public input received at the January 20th public forum. Wheeldon reviewed the public forum format and Seltzer the publicity strategy. Seltzer reminded the committee that the best publicity was word of mouth.
Cloer was concerned using Ashland High School students as recorders for such complicated issues. As each table would have a committee member and Marsh would make sure some training would occur, the committee decided to allow them to record the public comments at the forum.
III. CONTINUED DISCUSSION OF FINAL DRAFT OF WHITE PAPERS
Enders suggested removing any mention of specific names within the White Papers. Committee agreed. Enders and Culbertson would make up the editing subcommittee. Marsh suggested the subcommittee make format and punctuation changes, but not changes in length. Wheeldon asked the subcommittee to remove any terms that suggested bias.
The committee commented on specific White Papers. Enders agreed to pass applicable comments on to Massie. Committee agreed to take comments into account while editing White Papers.
V. OTHER ITEMS FROM COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Committee discussed adding an additional half hour to the meeting time (beginning at 6:30 p.m.) versus calling additional meetings. Committee postponed decision until February 3rd meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.