MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL Monday, December 15, 2014 Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, Marsh, and Voisin were present.
1. Public Input Amy Felmley/187 Gresham Street/Since the last time she spoke before Council, a deer chased her friend and dog down a street. A passerby had to let the woman and her dog into his car and drive them home. The community kept referring to these attacks as rare. This was the third aggressive attack in less than three months in roughly a three-block radius from where she was attacked. That was not rare. It was a pattern and something that needed to be dealt with. Part of the education should include how police respond to calls regarding deer attacks.
2. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3. Discussion of procedures for getting proclamations and endorsements on Council business meeting agendas
Councilor Rosenthal explained for the past year and a half there did not appear to be a set policy on how the Mayor and Council considered proclamations. It seemed subjective and needed objective analysis of the types of things the Council and Mayor would endorse. He found a personal request for a proclamation earlier in the year from a business inappropriate. It did not go forward but was a clear attempt at commercialism. Another issue was annual proclamations where the dates were not changed. He questioned whether these annual events needed a proclamation. He suggested a guideline for proclamations that included a two-thirds vote from Council.
City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified under Ashland Municipal Code 2.04.050 Order of Business at Regular Meetings (C) Special presentations, proclamations and awards, proclamations were made and placed on the agenda at the discretion of the Mayor. The Mayor could set up a procedure or have none.
Mayor Stromberg explained there were a few occasions where the he made a proclamation that represented his point of view as the Mayor of the Community and Council was not responsible. Other proclamations came across as if they belonged to the Council and he thought Council needed to have a say. Once or twice, over the past six years, a Councilor disliked a proclamation the Mayor thought was meaningful for the City and they agreed to keep it as the Mayor’s proclamation.
Council comments thought proclamations should stay with the Mayor’s position and be read by the Mayor with occasional special proclamations from Council. Other comments included Council voting unanimously to support a proclamation and if one councilor disagreed, it became the Mayors. Council noted they did not want to read the Mayor’s proclamations.
Mr. Lohman read AMC 2.04.050 Order of Business (C) Special presentations, proclamations and awards, “This item on the agenda is used to acknowledge special recognition and awards given to the City or for the Mayor to announce proclamations, which serve to encourage and educate the community. Proclamations shall be made and placed on the agenda at the discretion of the Mayor. Requests for recognition under this agenda item should be submitted in writing to the Mayor.”
Council discussed criteria that would exclude personal proclamations and commercial items along with criteria the Mayor and Council generally agreed with. Opposing comments thought the proposed guidelines were bureaucratic and preferred more flexibility for the Mayor. Other comments liked the proposed framework and thought the Mayor should adopt it as policy versus amending the code. For proclamations involving the Council, the City Recorder could draft one Council could physically sign.
Council in general supported the proclamation policy and the Mayor making decisions regarding them. They discussed making the reading of a proclamation more of an event with the Mayor possibly posing for pictures with the people or groups that brought them forward.
Council went on to discuss endorsements. Mr. Kanner explained there was no prohibition on Council making endorsements. Mayor Stromberg noted the categories of endorsements included political candidates, ballot measures, and a sub class of ballot measures that included items like the Library, University extension, Historical Society, and Rogue Valley Community Television (RVTV).
Councilor Rosenthal thought endorsements by Council insulted the voters by telling them how to vote even though he had voted in favor of past endorsements. It was more appropriate for individual Councilors to endorse measures instead of the full Council.
Councilor Voisin interpreted endorsements as stating support for a subject, not telling voters how to vote. It showed the city that Council was stepping forward on an item they thought was in the best interest of the community. Councilor Lemhouse thought it was disingenuous to make a statement that endorsing something was not a way to get people to vote. Councilor Voisin raised a point of clarification regarding Councilor Lemhouse’s reference to disingenuous. Councilor Lemhouse declined the point of clarification and continued. He did not mind having time at the end of an agenda for Councilors to make a personal endorsement but opposed endorsements Council was supposed to support as a whole. He also had concern with consistency.
Councilor Marsh could not imagine Council endorsing a candidate but thought there were some rare occasions where it was appropriate to endorse a measure. She expressed concern in the past when Council added something to the ballot as a Council then would not support the item. Councilor Slattery commented Council should reserve the right to endorse some things.
Councilor Morris thought if a Councilor wanted to endorse an item, they should have a second Councilor support it in order to get it on the agenda for discussion. Councilor Lemhouse suggested a Councilor go through the process of adding the unwritten endorsement to the agenda where Council would vote whether to support it or not. Councilor Voisin agreed but emphasized the need to make all discussions regarding the endorsement public. Councilor Slattery raised a point of clarification and asked Councilor Morris whether his suggestion indicated discussions not held in the public. Councilor Voisin allowed the clarification at the end of her comments. Councilor Lemhouse raised a point of order that Councilor Voisin was not talking to the topic. Mayor Stromberg ruled it was not off topic. Councilor Voisin continued and explained the importance of all discussions regarding an endorsement being public and used the RVTV endorsement as an example. Councilor Morris still thought an endorsement should have a second Councilor’s support in order to bring it to Council.
Mr. Lohman suggested adding language regarding endorsements to 2.04.030 Agendas (B) Agenda Additions by Councilors (2). It would give Council the opportunity to decide whether they wanted an item on an agenda. Council directed staff to bring back language adding endorsements to 2.04.030 (B) (2) for discussion at a future Council meeting.
Councilor Lemhouse addressed the wildlife issue. He wanted the emphasis on wildlife, not just deer, and options for the police when they received calls regarding wildlife confrontations.
Councilor Lemhouse left the meeting at 6:22 p.m.
Mr. Kanner explained there were three provisions for adding items to an agenda, noted his interpretation and asked for confirmation from Council. Council affirmed the approach he was using for adding agenda items. Councilor Rosenthal raised a point of order. The item was not on the agenda. Staff would bring the discussion to a future agenda.
4. Discussion of succession planning and department head compensation
Mayor Stromberg clarified the agenda item pertained more to attracting high quality employees as department heads retired, and how the pay scale lined up with two different classes of cites. City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the City was competitive with other cities the same size. The City of Grants Pass pulled the average down due to low salaries. Two concerns was the compression problem occurring in the Police, Fire, and Electric Departments. The other concern was the part salary played in career decisions. Most Human Resource surveys indicated salary was usually fifth or sixth on the list for job satisfaction.
Staff was in the process of interviewing and setting up contracts with potential trainers for the leadership academy. Next step was contacting large employers locally to gauge their interest in participating.
To alleviate compression staff suggested adding two salary steps to the existing range to gain distance between department heads and the next highest paid employee. Additionally, the Human Resource Manager salary was low and needed an increase adjustment. Mr. Kanner clarified the process for the Parks Director salary was the same as other department head salaries. The City Recorder’s compensation was locked into the Charter. Citywide leave and sick time accruals were not competitive.
Mr. Kanner would bring back proposed department head salary ranges and information on compensation. They did not look at accruals, health insurance premium contributions, or deferred compensation in the comparison with other cities.
5. Update on deer education program
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained staff received information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Services and the City of Cody Wyoming for information on living with deer and other wildlife.
Staff was interested in having one wildlife summit with the Parks and Recreation Department creating a wildlife education program as part of the regular programs they offered.
Council suggested having a City phone number for citizens to call in addition to the Police Department. Mr. Kanner preferred publicizing ODFW’s phone number instead since they were the experts, and possibly including OSU Extension Service. Council still wanted a City number to track incidents of people attacked by wildlife.
Council also wanted what the City would not do like trap or shoot animals added to the proposal. Mr. Kanner noted the brochure addressed action the City could not take. If an individual felt an eminent physical threat from wildlife, they were allowed to take any means necessary to protect themselves per state law. ODFW also issued harassment permits. The City’s brochure was specific to deer. Council suggested changing the website title to Living with Wildlife or Living with Deer and other Wildlife.
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder
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