Agendas and Minutes

Charter Review Committee (View All)

Regular Meeting

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Charter Review Committee
February 17, 2005
Regular Meeting Minutes
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

I.     CALL TO ORDER: Carole Wheeldon called the Ashland Charter Review Committee meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. on February 17, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.

Members Present: Hal Cloer, Pam Marsh, Keith Massie, Donald Montgomery, Michael Riedeman and Carole Wheeldon.
Members Absent: John Enders, Kate Culbertson and Laurie MacGraw.
Staff Present: Mike Franell, City Attorney
Ann Seltzer, Management Analyst/Staff Liaison
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

Cloer / Marsh m/s to approve the minutes of February 3, 2005 as submitted. Motion passed unanimously.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Provided results from the citizen survey that he and his constituents have been conducting. Some of the questions and results included:

1) Should a City Councilor be fired for recommending termination? Majority said No.
2) Should the City Administrator's annual performance review be done behind closed doors? Majority said No.
3) Should there be a public summary of the performance review? Majority said Yes.
4) Who should decide the Planning Commissioners? Majority said the voters should decide.
5) Who should decide the Parks Commissioners? Majority said the voters should decide.

Mr. Bullock provided a timeline for when each issue should be discussed and explained why some of the issues should be grouped together. He also noted that he is currently preparing a written report for the Committee.

The Committee requested that Mr. Bullock submit his materials in writing and suggested that they schedule his presentation on a future agenda(s) so that he can have adequate time to present his information. The Committee also asked that Mr. Bullock inform his surveyors to verbally indicate while they are interviewing people that they are not a representative of the Charter Review Committee.

Hal Cloer noted that the issues regarding the Charter revision were much more complicated than a broad 'yes' or 'no' question. Michael Riedeman added that the questions relate to very complicated subjects and suggested that the individuals who contribute to the survey need to be better informed before participating. He also noted his background statistical analysis and explained why he does not believe this is a balanced survey.

Mr. Bullock stated that he believes he is conducting a valid survey and stated that most of the issues were not difficult for people to understand.

The Committee clarified that the option for voters to decide the Planning Commissioners was not possible under Oregon State Law.

In order to have adequate time for the scheduled guest speaker, the Committee asked that Mr. Bullock's presentation be continued at a future meeting.

Bill Mansfield was introduced to the Charter Review Committee. He noted his 25 years experience as an attorney and stated that was previously employed as the City Attorney of Medford. Mr. Mansfield has also worked for the majority of the jurisdictions in the surrounding area and was a Medford City Council for a number of years.

Mr. Mansfield noted the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial. He stated that the City Council is the legislative power and the primary issue facing this Committee was whether Ashland should have the executive power with the Mayor, a City Manager or some kind of hybrid. In his opinion, the City Manager is the best person to hold the executive power. Mr. Mansfield explained that he supports the this form of government because it allows for a clear division between the legislative and executive branches. The City Manager would not set policy, and would do nothing more than follow the direction of the Council. Mr. Mansfield stated that he believed the City Council, not the Mayor, should be responsible for making the appointments to the various commissions and committees. He also explained that a major reason why cities should appoint a City Manager is because City business can be very complex and there is too much at risk by not having an qualified Mayor in charge. He also related running for office to a popularity contest and stated that voters are not as knowledgeable as the Council on choosing the most qualified person.

Ms. Mansfield stated that he was opposed to the Mayor having veto power and does not think that the Mayor should have the authority to dismiss a City Manager. He also suggested that cities avoid long term contracts with their City Managers and recommended that the contracts be terminable on either a 30 or 60-day notice. Mr. Mansfield clarified for the committee, that in this form of government, the City Manager is responsible for the hiring and firing of department heads and clarified that the City Council could terminate a City Manager during a public meting.

In response to "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality, Mr. Mansfield stated that even though Ashland's current system is still working, it is not the best possible system.

Mr. Mansfield stated that he believes the City Recorder and Municipal Judge should be appointed for the reason that these candidates are often elected based on their popularity and not their qualifications. He added that this issue would likely face opposition by the Ashland voters.

Mr. Mansfield suggested that the Committee have a good local reporter follow the issues to increase public participation. He also clarified that with the City Manager form of government, the Mayor position would still be an important one, as he or she would be the spokesperson for the City and would preside over the City Council.

In closing, Mr. Mansfield thanked the Committee for asking him to come and share his thoughts on these issues.

Ms. Wheeldon spoke regarding the email submitted to the committee, which outlined longer and more frequent meetings. Ms. Wheeldon also proposed that the Committee develop a template for discussions in order to ensure that each topic has adequate discussion time and that they are reviewing the same points for each. She asked for input on what the Committee would like to include in the template. Suggestion was made to elaborate on the pros and cons for making a change. Other suggestions included: budget implications, organizational implications, whether an issue should be addressed in the Charter or as an ordinance, modernizing existing language, the values of local government, and cost and consequences.

Michael Riedeman / Keith Massie m/s to charge the Public Outreach Committee to create a template based on the Committee's discussion and provide it to the Committee for consideration. Motion passed unanimously.

Suggestion was made for the Committee to try out their template on the City Band issue.

City Attorney Mike Franell informed the Committee that the City's hired consultant Tom Sponsler was waiting for them to provide him with direction. Mr. Franell noted that the next step would be for Mr. Sponsler to create a draft Charter for the City, but given the need for further discussion on the issues, Mr. Franell recommended that the Committee wait on creating the draft Charter.

Reviewing Timeline
Ms. Wheeldon noted that the Committee would be providing an update to the City Council on March 1st and it was suggested that the Committee present their information over several meetings.

The Committee discussed and agreed on extending their meeting time to 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. The Committee also discussed holding four additional meetings and a study session between now and the beginning of June. The Committee discussed whether it was possible to complete their work in time to make the November election. It was noted that the City Council would need a minimum of two meetings to review the proposed Charter. Staff Liaison Ann Seltzer clarified that if the Committee completed their work by June 21st, that would give the Council July and August to deliberate and take public input. Ms. Wheeldon asked that each member determine how much time they could personally commit to this process.

The Committee discussed the list of new issues and received clarification on how the list was compiled. It was noted that the Vision Statement was missing from the list. Suggestion was made for the Committee to address these issues a few at a time during any excess time at future meetings. Comment was that regardless of when the Committee decides to hear these new issues, someone would need to prepare the information before a discussion can take place. Suggestion was made for the Committee to schedule 30 minutes on the next meeting agenda to discuss a few of the new issues.

Mr. Franell stated that he would provide feedback to the Council regarding the issues, and stated that there were several that he could eliminate right away.

Ms. Wheeldon clarified that each Committee member needed to review the list of new issues, conduct their research, and be ready to address these new issues at the next meeting.

V.     ADJOURNED Meeting adjourned at 9:02 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

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