Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, May 04, 2015

                                             MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
Monday, May 4, 2015
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:29 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
Councilor Lemhouse, Morris, Seffinger, Rosenthal, Voisin, and Marsh were present.      
1.         Public Input (15 minutes maximum)  
Louise Shawkat/870 Cambridge Street/Wanted to know when the Conservation Commissionís plan to develop and implement a Climate Action Plan would go before Council.
City Administrator Dave Kanner responded the Conservation Commission would present the plan at the June 2, 2015 Council meeting.
2.         Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3.   Options for rehabilitation of the Pioneer Mike statue
Historic preservation consultant George Kramer from Kramer and Company provided background on the Pioneer Mike statue dedicated October 1910 as a gift to the city from the Carter family through a $1,000 donation. The statue has stood at the plaza for 115 years and removed twice.  Once in 1969 when someone lassoed Pioneer Mike, pulled the statue down breaking the boots and one arm, and since October 2014 when someone broke the arm off in the same place. Southern Oregon graduate Ron Reinmiller repaired the damage that occurred in 1969 using fiberglass and epoxy and the statue returned to the plaza in 1972. 
The statue was made of zinc and soldered together.  Zinc was brittle and over time, repairs weakened the statue.  There were four examples of Pioneer Mike in the country.  Ashlandís was the only one in exterior display.  Out of four, only two remained.  One was in Ashland and the other in Stone Lake IA.  The City of Storm Lake experienced similar issues with their statue that resulted in recasting Pioneer Mike in bronze for exterior display.  The original is on interior display at the Buena Vista Historical Society.
The statue was originally in contrapposto posture but repaired flatfooted in 1969 for additional stability.
There were two options. One was continue to repair the statue as needed and if Council chose that option, Mr. Kramer strongly recommended the City have a mold made.  The other option was accepting the City of Storm Lakeís offer to allow the City to send a mold-maker and model their bronze casting.  The City would display the bronze replica at the plaza, repair the original, and display it at an interior location.  Pioneer Mike was on the national register.  The Oregon State Historic Preservation office was aware of issues with cast zinc statues and was comfortable with the City replacing the statue with a bronze replica. 
Mr. Kramer referenced page 25 of his report and clarified costs.  Repair damage for exterior installation was $10,000 and $1,500 for interior display.  With fountain repair costs included, the Repair Option was $35,500.  The Replication option would cost $47,000-$57,000.
Council supported replicating the statue in bronze and repairing the original for interior display.  Mr. Kanner noted there was one-time money in the budget for possible replication, $8,500 from the insurance company, and the insurance company would pay the $10,000 deductible.  Council suggested looking at the fountain in front of the library that did not work and restoring the Abraham Lincoln statue in Lithia Park.  The Public Arts Commission and Historic Commission could do an inventory of the current statues and fountains in need of repair and make recommendations, including the replacement of Pioneer Mike with a bronze statue.  Mr. Kramer and Council discussed not repairing the flatfooted original and keeping it as part of Ashlandís story.
4.   Discussion of City Recorder compensation and Charter amendment
Councilor Lemhouse explained this was City Recorder Barbara Christensenís final term and she would not seek re-election when it ended.  Councilor Lemhouse stated that the discussion should be focused on whether the salary and the formula used to set the pay for the City Recorder position was right and if the position should continue as an elected position. 
Council confirmed the City Charter dictated the formula for salary calculation and it would require an amendment to change the salary formula or change the position from elected to appointed.  There were two other cities in Oregon with elected city recorder positions.
City Administrator Dave Kanner compiled position descriptions for the city recorder from cities in the state that closely matched the City of Ashland City Recorder job duties and city size.  The City considered all forms of increased compensation that management and supervisory employees received when calculating the average increase and applied it to the recorder and municipal judge.  Ashlandís city recorder was not a classified employee and did not have a pay range with steps.  Both the city recorder and municipal judge received a salary and did not get cost of living adjustments. 
Council noted the technical requirements required of the recorderís office and there was no guarantee the City would get an elected recorder that matched Ms. Christensenís high quality, character, and ethics.  Council discussed paying the position like a department head if the position remained elected.  Alternately, this was an opportunity to modernize the position, make it appointed, and get input from Ms. Christensen on how it should look.  Mr. Kanner clarified if Council wanted to refer a charter amendment he recommended not making it effective until the expiration of the current city recorderís term.  Mayor Stromberg added having the amendment go into effect at the end of the current incumbentís term or whenever that incumbent left the position.  Other comments suggested changing the position but retaining the elected status and addressing qualification concerns, have the city recorderís salary relate to department head salaries, not supervisor pay, and when the amendment passed, offer that pay increase to the current city recorder. Council wanted to review the pros and cons.
Mr. Kanner further clarified the top of range for a current city recorder was similar to what Ms. Christensen was earning.  An analysis of the required duties and what that type of position was paid in comparison to other city positions, along with an analysis of comparable positions in similarly sized jurisdictions would result in the top salary range close to the current recorderís salary.  He did not consider the recorder a department head position.  The scope of resources affected by the position, independent judgment, and decision making factored into a classification did not justify treating the city recorder position as a department head.  It was a confidential-administrative position below a senior management or deputy police chief role.  Staff would need to do a comprehensive analysis to determine actual classification.
If Council decided to pursue changing the position to appointed, they could remove the city recorder language from the Charter and create the city recorder position through a code amendment.  Mayor Stromberg added the investment policy side of the city recorder and city treasurer would go into the Finance Department.  The intention was a clean transition with the current elected recorderís era ending with Ms. Christensen and moving into a classified position in the City.  Mr. Kanner noted almost all city recorder positions reported to the city administrator or city manager.
Council was interested in knowing the reasoning behind the 1974 change.  In 2002, Council did not recommend changing the city recorder position because Ms. Christensen did not support the change.  This time Ms. Christensen supported looking into changing the position from elected to appointed.  Other Council comments wanted to look at options regarding electing or appointing the position.
Mr. Kanner commented elected offices in the country were reserved for policymaking positions and the city recorder was not a policy making position.  It was an administrative, professional, technical position that worked within a prescribed set of rules regarding public meetings and information, and records retention. The city recorder implemented the policy of state and local legislative bodies.  The elected county clerk ran the elections.  The county needed someone who could exercise independence in the running of an election.  The Ashland city recorder filed paperwork for the elections and did not run them.
Staff would provide the pros and cons regarding whether to keep the position elected or appointed along with options that preserved the position but modernized it in the City Charter. 
5.   Discussion of quorum requirements for boards and commissions
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the request to change the codified definition of a quorum came from the Public Arts Commission.  Council considered changing the quorum in 2012 and at that time elected not to make that change.  Public Arts Commission member Margaret Garrington further explained the Commissionís difficulties filling the 7-member maximum.   Typically, the Commission had four people, and currently had six.  Other issues were meeting quorum requirements on a monthly basis.
Council suggested changing quorum requirements to mandate a minimum number of votes required to make a recommendation or pass a motion.  Currently the Planning Commission had the final vote in a decision unless appealed.  Other decisions by commissions ultimately went through Council, there would never be a time three commissioners could make a decision that was final.  The quorum could have a minimum of three votes to make a recommendation.  Council noted there were twelve commissions and three, the Public Arts, Transportation, and Tree Commissions had challenges getting members and suggested reviewing and improving recruitment processes.  Possible other reasons for low recruitment could be attendance requirements or retaining the interest of commissioners and keeping the commissions working.     
Council majority directed staff to bring back an ordinance lowering quorum requirements with a minimum amount of votes to establish an action.  Opposing comments did not want to give staff direction regarding quorum and wanted to address the root cause of quorum issues instead.  Council also wanted to know the methodology on recruitment, other strategies to gain interest in commissions, and have someone contact commission chairs for their input. 
Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,                                                                                                          
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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