MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 4, 2002 -12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell and Hearn were present. Councilors Jackson and Morrison arrived late. Staff: City Administrator Greg Scoles, Administrative Services Manager Tina Gray, and Police Chief Scott Flueter.
I. Discussion regarding adding youth liaison members to various City Boards, Commissions and Committees
Mayor DeBoer noted that Council had been given some direction on how to get youth more involved in City Government. He explained that he had spent a lot of time talking to the youth and researching what the Council had done in the past regarding this issue. He noted that his recommendation was to appoint non-voting youth members to the following:
Council discussed the issue noting that throughout the State youth involvement had not been successful. Goals to be accomplished by these appointments were noted as 1.) Mentoring; 2.) To gain perspective, and 3.) Expanding out-reach to youth in general. It was pointed out that many "youth" are not in college and many in college are not "youth." Reid noted that she thinks of "youth," as being of highschool age and that people over 18 are adults. It was noted that "youthful" adults already can serve on commissions and committees, and that some of them do.
Councilor Jackson arrived at 12:15 p.m.
Laws favored differentiating between full citizenship roles and those who are younger. He felt that those who are older should participate in the way all other adults do and saw no reason to give them special consideration. He commented that our desire is to get individuals with experience and who could do the best job for the City. He felt that there are fewer people at younger ages that have the desired experience, background, and expertise, so few are appointed in proportion to their numbers. He understood the Mayor's desire to have liaison with the College and the responsibility to encourage participation by high-school students, both for reasons of citizenship and bringing to the City government the concerns and ideas of young people. He suggested that the Mayor has the power to appoint liaisons without ordinance or resolution. He liked the idea of going through a leadership group as opposed to appointment.
Morrison arrived at 12:20 p.m.
DeBoer stated that the goal is to increase communication and provide a formal opportunity without increasing staff responsibility. Hartzell requested, that the if the leadership group were asked to make appointments that they look at the whole student body and not necessarily at those already participating in student government. DeBoer clarified that this had been done. It was noted that to see if this recommendation would work, would be to implement the plan, let it run for a year, and then evaluate it.
Hartzell commented that the handbooks the City Recorder's office puts together for the commissions and committees are vital and help jump-start appointees' involvement.
DeBoer explained that he had not included the Airport Commission for appointments because the Commission had evolved into a management type function making operational decisions rather than recommendations. After discussion by Council, DeBoer agreed that appointments could be made to this Commission in order to move the resolutions forward.
Jackson noted the resolutions apply to nine of the commissions and that they reach out to the highschool and the college, and is a special proposal where positions are limited in scope and non-voting. Hearn voiced in favor of the resolutions but pointed out that the underlying lumping in statement that "all young people have common goals and aspirations," is a fallacy.
It was discussed and noted that the Planning Commission would not be included for appointments due to the direct responsibility the Planning Commissioners have to follow in regards to state law, criteria, objectivity, and the need for members to have specific backgrounds.
Scoles suggested creating a new section in the municipal code that allowed for these types of appointments. He explained that it would be easier to create one section rather than amend several sections that apply to all the different Commissions. Discussion was held on whether it was incumbent upon the Mayor to fill a vacant position. Scoles explained that the Council cannot compel the Mayor to fill a position and it was suggested that the use of the word "may," instead of, "shall," would give the Mayor options.
Hartzell suggested that the City apply for the IYEF Institute Grant, which is available for the purpose of enhancing youth participation. She volunteered to work on this and noted that the proposal is due October 10th. DeBoer voiced his opposition to applying for the grant. Morrison offered to work with Hartzell on this issue.
Laws suggested moving forward with the Mayor's proposed resolutions by placing on a council agenda. He noted that this would not preclude Hartzell and Morrison from investigating the grant option and reporting back to the Council with their findings. It was agreed that this would be on the next council agenda.
II. City Administrator Recruitment Process
DeBoer explained that appointment of the City Administrator falls under the purview of the Mayor's office and then by agreement of the Council. He announced that Scoles last day would be October 11th and that a full search process would take 4 to 6 months. A Request for Proposal (RFP) was sent out to job search firms, including the League of Oregon Cities, and responses have been received.
He explained the options as, bringing in an interim administrator or appointing a department head. He stated that he is in favor of appointing Brian Almquist, prior City of Administrator of Ashland. He explained that he had not spoken to Almquist as yet, but would like to have him available on a part-time basis and salary would be negotiated. He felt that this option would allow enough savings to hire a search firm.
It was noted that bids received from search firms ranged from $20 to $26 thousand dollars and the two low bidders were the preferred firms. DeBoer explained that the search firm would take public input and develop a criteria list for the application process. Council would be included as a search committee and select three recommendations from those interviewed. He would then choose from those recommendations for the Council approval.
Scoles explained that the role of an interim is to coordinate with the Council, the Mayor, and Departments. That this could be done, for a short period of time, and on a part-time basis. He recommended an external candidate as interim and strongly recommended retaining a search firm for the recruitment process.
He outlined the following things the search firm would do:
Scoles noted this process from beginning to end could range from 12 to 16 weeks. DeBoer noted that there is a difference between recruiting and applying for a job and that active recruitment is what the search firm will bring to the process rather than sitting and waiting for applications.
It was noted that there is an advantage in retaining Almquist as interim due to his experience and familiarity with the city. DeBoer commented on the need to provide stability for employees and department heads during the interim.
Jackson expressed support of retaining an executive search firm and wanted to get the process started. Morrison expressed basic agreement noting that he favored Almquist as interim due to familiarity, but clarified that he is looking for different qualities in an interim than in the administrator appointee. Reid did not favor using a department head as interim.
DeBoer introduced Julie Rodwell who has interest in the administrator position. Rodwell explained that she had moved to Ashland in January and had 32 years experience in local government. She noted that she had worked as an assistant city manager, has a technical background, and is passionate about building better communities through problem solving and consensus building.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.