Agendas and Minutes

Charter Review Committee (View All)

Final Meeting

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Charter Review Committee
June 30, 2005
Regular Meeting
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Committee Chair John Enders called the Ashland Charter Review Committee meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. on June 30, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Members Present: John Enders, Carole Wheeldon, Hal Cloer, Pam Marsh, Don Montgomery, and Michael Riedeman.
Members Absent: Keith Massie, Kate Culbertson and Laurie MacGraw
Staff Present: Ann Seltzer, Staff Liaison
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

Hal Cloer/Carole Wheeldon m/s to approve the minutes of June 16, 2005 as presented. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Michael Riedeman requested that the minutes of the June 9th meeting be amended to include his corrections, which were emailed to the committee on June 26th. Mr. Riedeman read aloud his requested corrections.

Michael Riedeman/Carole Wheeldon m/s to include his corrections in the written record for the June 30, 2005 meeting minutes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
[Mr. Riedeman's corrections are attached to this document.]

Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Stated that the Ashland Constitution Dialogue group would continue to meet through July and noted their meeting schedule. Mr. Bullock voiced his concern regarding the wording of the water rights provision and noted that the committee failed to hold a public forum on the water rights issue. Mr. Bullock concluded by thanking the committee members and staff for their efforts on the charter review.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Rd/Submitted a revised topic discussion paper on preference voting to the committee for inclusion in their final report. Ms. Vavra thanked the committee for all their work on the charter review.

It was noted that three of the committee members were unable to attend this final meeting and the committee discussed whether they wanted to allow a proxy vote. Both Kate Culbertson and Laurie MacGraw had voiced their support of the final document via email, however the committee had not received input from Keith Massie.

Comment was made questioning the appropriateness of a proxy vote if the committee ends up making changes to the final report at tonight's meetings. It was noted that the committee did have a quorum and it would not be necessary to include the proxy votes. Request was made for only the committee members present to vote on the final report, however comment was made that it would be beneficial if the absent members could review and sign the report prior to its submission to the City Council.

Committee reached consensus to not include proxy votes on the final approval of the report. The regulations for approving the final report were read aloud and it was noted that all of the members present would need to approve the final report in order for it to pass.

Committee continued their review of the list of sections from the current City Charter that should be removed or rewritten.

Article 7, Section 5 - Committee agreed to retain this provision in the charter.

Comment was made noting the formatting inconsistency on varying copies of the charter (both English and Roman numerals are used) and request was made for this to be corrected.

Article 7, Sections 6 & 7 - No objections were voiced to removing these provisions, which are superseded by ORS 254.

Article 8, Sections 5 & 6 - No objections were voiced to removing these provisions, which are superseded by ORS 192.

Article 9 - No objections were voiced to removing this section, which deals with special powers of the council. Comment was made clarifying that this has been suggested for removal because when you begin to enumerate broad powers, you can actually be subject to limitation of those powers.

Article 11, Section 1 & 4 - No objections were voiced to removing these sections, which are superseded by ORS 279.

Article 12 - Request was made to include a one-line description of the statue and no objections were voiced to this.

Article 13, Section 4 - No objections were voiced to removing this section, which is superseded by ORS 224.

Article 14 - Committee briefly discussed and agreed to remove this article, but agreed to recommend to the Council that they consider adopting an ordinance that addresses Section 2.

Article 15, Section 2 (last sentence) - Committee agreed to remove this language and leave it to the Council to determine whether they want retain the provision regarding the judge's report.

Article 15, Section 3 - It was noted that the Model Charter provides for a 12 person jury, while the current Ashland Charter provides for a 6 person jury. Consensus was reached to retain the provision in the current Charter for a 6 person jury and it was mentioned that a 6 person jury was more appropriate given the size of Ashland.

Article 16, Section 1 - It was noted that the committee would be discussing this provision later on in the meeting.

Article 16, Sections 2, 3, and 4 (from the third sentence to the end) - No objections were voiced to removing this language.

Article 17 Hospital, Article 18 Cemetery, and Article 20 Airport - Committee discussed whether they wanted to recommend retention of these articles to the City Council. Comment was made requesting that Section 1 for both the hospital and airport be retained; however it was questioned if this would conflict with current ordinances. Statement was made that the City's relationship with the hospital has changed since this language was adopted. Comment was made noting that a goal of the committee was to retain the items in the City charter that reflected Ashland's uniqueness and support was voiced for retaining all three articles, with the exception of the $500 in taxes for the permanent trust fund in the cemetery provision. Support was voiced for retaining the articles in the charter, but consolidating the language down.

Committee agreed to retain Section 1 of the Hospital provision; modified to reflect the city's current relationship with the hospital, and investigated to ensure that this would not conflict with any city ordinances.

In regards to the Cemetery, request was made for the City Attorney to investigate if there is any reason why this entire provision should not be removed. Because this is unique to Ashland, support was voiced to including some sort of language that acknowledges this. Suggestion was made to retain the simple sentence listed in Section 2. It was noted that the time sensitive dollar amounts needed to be removed. Committee reached consensus that this article needed to be looked at by the City Attorney, consolidated, but left in on some level.

In regards to the Airport, consensus was reached to retain this article as is.

Hal Cloer presented a brief background regarding this issue and explained that it may be beneficial to enumerate mayoral powers and duties to parallel those of the manager listed in Section 33e of the Model Charter. Mr. Cloer noted his email submitted to the committee on June 15th , which listed powers and duties of the mayor to be included in the Charter.

A typographical error was noted on #7; it should read "Cooperate with the manager in coordinating and facilitating communication among elected officials, government staff, and members of the public". Another small error was noted on #5, "assigns" should not have an 's' on the end.

Suggestion was made to eliminate #11, and the extensive discussions held by the committee were noted in which they decided that the mayor and council should act in concert when dealing with the hiring and firing of the city manager. Comment was made that the language in #11 was not consistent with the previous decisions made by the committee. Request was made to remove the term "appointed officials", which could apply to department heads, the city manager, as well as the city attorney and replace it with the specified positions. Committee continued discussion on whether to include #11 and if so, what adjustments should be made to the wording. Consensus was reached to eliminate #11 and modify #10 to read "Initiate and conduct council evaluation of the city manager and city attorney on an annual basis, or as needed".

It was noted that since the committee was recommending adoption of the Model Charter, they were also adopting the title city manager instead of city administrator. No objections to this were voiced.

Pam Marsh/Hal Cloer m/s to accept the Mayor's Duties that have been scripted by Hal Cloer; with the change to #7, word smithing to #10, and elimination of #11. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Ms. Wheeldon briefly spoke regarding revisiting the election issue, and explained that in order to recall this issue forward, it would have to be done by one of the members who voted in favor of the original motion to adopt the top three vote getters.

Request was made to modify page 6 of the Model Charter under the Manager's Duties to combine duties #4 and #5 with the addition of the phrase "except for the officers and employees of the Parks Department".

Pam Marsh received clarification on how these changes would be incorporated into the final report.

Each committee member voiced their opinion on whether minority reports should be allowed to be prepared and included in the final report. Mr. Cloer stated that he was interested in preparing a minority report on the council election issue. Statement was made that the process used by the committee adequately brought forward both sides of the issues. Comment was made that any member who was in the minority should be allowed to prepare a report for inclusion in the final report to the council. Opposing comment was made that minority reports detract from the unity of the committee. Support was voiced for not voting against the inclusion of such reports if a fellow member wanted to prepare one.

Committee continued to discuss and consensus was reached to allow the inclusion of minority (or majority) reports in the appendix of the report; however the reports would need to be submitted to Staff Liaison Ann Seltzer by July 5th.

Michael Riedeman read aloud his suggested wording which was submitted to the committee via email. It was noted that the City Attorney had stated that Mr. Riedeman's proposed language would be acceptable.

Carole Wheeldon requested that the committee not move forward with this issue due to the lack of study and public input. It was noted that the committee had previously made two motions on this issue and suggestion was made for the committee to not take action on the specific language tonight, and to leave the wording in the report as is. Support was voiced for leaving this issue as is and not taking further action. Comment was made that the committee was not required to endorse the proposed language, and support was voiced for including the draft language options in the appendix of the report and recommending further study to the Council.

Pam Marsh suggested that they add a sentence to this section of the final report which would state that the City Attorney has prepared sample language, the committee suggests that the Council look at the language and decide how they would like to proceed on the issue.

Suggestion was made to modify the wording in the report to state "Our intention is to suggest that existing water policy language be clarified". It was also suggested to modify the wording under Charter Housekeeping to read "Finally, as one of our last action, the committee unanimously approved the review of sample language to Article 16, Section 1 ..."

John Enders/Michael Riedeman m/s to state to the Council that the committee took an earlier action, but after further study realized that the issue was more complicated than initially realized; and recommend to the Council that they study this matter further; In addition, the Committee withdraws their earlier decision. DISCUSSION: Mr. Enders clarified that this would mean that the committee was not recommending a specific change to this provision in the charter and is recommending further study. He stated that it would be better to state to the Council that in light of the committee's further study, they have decided to rescind their unanimous decision and recommend that the Council study the issue further. Pam Marsh asked for clarification on how to accurately capture this in the report. She suggested that the report state the committee's first decision, state that they then asked the City Attorney for additional language, which is attached to the report, and to state that they believe the issue is more complex and suggest that the Council study the issue further.

John Enders/Carole Wheeldon m/s to amend his motion to reflect what was just stated by Pam Marsh. DISCUSSION: It was clarified that this motion would not be retracting their previous votes, but rather would be adding an additional statement that the committee was unprepared to make a formal recommendation. Pam Marsh clarified that the paragraph would state that the committee unanimously voted to allow businesses to receive water, in a second vote, the committee then asked the City Attorney to prepare draft language prohibiting the use of water as a principal commodity for businesses, upon review of that language, the committee realized that this issue was more complex and recommend that the Council study this provision further. Michael Riedeman expressed his objections to handling this issue in this fashion, and expressed his support for the initial motion rescinding their initial votes on the issue. Roll Call Vote: Carole Wheeldon, John Enders, Pam Marsh, Hal Cloer, Don Montgomery, YES. Michael Riedeman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.


Carole Wheeldon/John Enders m/s to approve final report and summary submitted by Pam Marsh with the changes voted on tonight. DISCUSSION:
Carole Wheeldon noted that she would make the agreed upon changes to document titled Draft items to be changed in charter upon recommendation of Charter Review Consultant Tom Sponslor. Pam Marsh asked if the committee was comfortable with the paragraph at the top of page 5 under Outcome, and committee expressed their approval of the language.  Pam Marsh noted the changes made to the report at tonight's meetings, which were: the addition of a sentence referring to the mayor and city manager responsibilities, and the rewriting of the city water section. Michael Riedeman noted his email sent to the committee regarding requested changes to #9 on page 9, sentence two, and read aloud his email which noted his concerns. Committee agreed to amend the wording under Discussion on page 9, sentence 2 to read "Conversely critics of the existing system claim…".
Roll Call Vote: Carole Wheeldon, John Enders, Pam Marsh, Hal Cloer, Michael Riedeman and Don Montgomery, YES. Motion passed.

Carole Wheeldon/John Enders m/s to create a subcommittee to work in the next week on the presentation to the City Council. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

Committee members went around the table and offered their parting remarks. Appreciation was voiced for one another as well as for the process and for Staff.

X. ADJOURNMENT: Meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder


To: City Charter review group"
Date: 6/26/2005
Subject: [Charter] CRC Minutes of June 9 - two corrections suggested

Committee members,

Pam Vavra had raised a concern about some inaccuracies in our June 9 Charter Review Committee meeting minutes. I didn't fully understand the concerns when minutes from that meeting were approved at the June 16 meeting. Pam has since clarified those concerns to me and I would like to request that the following two statements be corrected in the June 9 minutes:

1. In this statement: "City Attorney Mike Franell stated that the current charter language allows for the top three vote getters to be awarded council seats, but does not provide for a majority election, which would initiate IRV," the "three" should be removed. As I recall, Mike explained explicitly why he was avoiding reference to "top three" because there could be occasions when there may be more than three seats up for election.

2. Then two paragraphs later, the only sentence was approved as follows: "Mr. Franell also noted a potential problem with majority voting and stated that this would cause problems in the event that one councilor vacated his seat prior to the end of their term, in which case at the next election, they could have four vacant seats at one election." As Pam explained to me, Mike was not talking about majority voting at this time but about use of the term "top three." The reason this change is important to Pam (and I share her concern), is that it may give the impression to a future reader that Mike registered a concern about majority voting being problematic. I would suggest asking Mike if this correction would be more accurate.

We will have a lot of business to take care of during the final meeting, so I didn't want to have to raise this wordy correction on the spot. Please consider these two changes so they can be approved or disapproved either at this next meeting (without me), or if necessary, I will formally make a motion to this effect at the June 30 meeting. Carole or John, could you advise me your preference about this?

Thanks, Michael

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