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Charter Review Minutes, Sept. 20, 2016
CITY CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
COUNCIL COMMITTEE ROOM
5:30 p.m., September 20, 2016
Members present for roll call: Mike Atcheson, John Beaudoin, Gladys Bratton, Lenny Cacchio, Brad Cox, Michael Dayton, Fred DeMoro, Jim Devine, Jose Ruiz, Ron Williams
Members absent for roll call: Paula Derks and Terry Trafton
Staff Liaisons present: Brian Head, Denise Chisum, Stacy Lombardo
Call to Order:
The September 20, 2016, City Charter Review Commission was called to order by Chairman Bratton, at 5:32 p.m. at City Hall, 220 SE Green Street, in the Council Committee Room. Notice had been provided by posting the meeting notice with a tentative agenda, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, at both entrances into City Hall. A copy of the agenda was also placed on the City’s website.
1. Approval of August 16, 2016, Action Letter.
On motion of Commissioner Beaudoin and second by Commissioner Dayton, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) for approval of the Action Letter for August 16, 2016. Motion passed.
2. Public Comments -
(This is an opportunity for the audience to address the Commission on any items not on the agenda.)
Former Councilmember Bob Johnson began by speaking about his concerns regarding Article III- City Council. He said that Missouri doesn’t have any limits on campaign contributions and he noted that Amendment 2 will be on the ballot in November for state contribution limits. Mr. Johnson is in favor of eight smaller districts, with one representative each, to make it easier to knock on doors. He then commented on Section 3.4 Mayor Pro Tempore. The Council is a legislative body and should choose its own leader; having the Mayor choose the Mayor Pro Tempore is a step backwards. His concern with subsection C, mandating that committee assignments be made by the first regular meeting in June, was that the budget is not usually completed by June so there would now be new members on the Budget and Finance Committee before the budget is passed. He then turned his attention to Section 3.5 Administrative Policy Matters. He believes that City Councilmembers should be able to go directly to departments with relatively minor citizen requests, like trees overhanging sidewalks, instead of having all requests go through the City Manager. He said that when he was a Councilmember, he would give constituents the department head’s name and phone number, but he doesn’t think that was the best way to handle the situation either. The next section he addressed was Section 3.6, Prohibition Against Holding Other Office. Mr. Johnson asked why a Councilmember should be prohibited from serving on the Water District Board for Water District 13. He also mentioned that State Legislators can serve on the School Board. Next he discussed Section 3.15 Charter Violation and Ethics Code. He believes it also needs to include charter violations by the City Manager. Regarding section 4.4 Powers and Duties, he asked who is mandated to set the agenda. He then reiterated that he still believes in the Mayoral veto and he pointed out that the charter doesn’t say what will happen if the Mayor doesn’t make appointments at or prior to the expiration of a term or vacancy, or if the Mayor Pro Tempore doesn’t make committee assignments by the first meeting in June. He again mentioned Section 3.6 Prohibition Against Holding Other Office, and asked if a Councilmember leaves during his/her term, can a termed out Councilmember fill the rest of the unexpired term.
Commissioner Cacchio asked Mr. Johnson if he was proposing that the Commission add campaign contribution limits to the Charter. Mr. Johnson answered no, he believes the City Council should consider an ordinance, but it should not be written in the charter as constitutional language. Commissioner Cacchio then asked for clarification on what the problem is with committee assignments and the budget process. Mr. Johnson explained the timeline for the budget process ending with the final budget question going before the entire City Council at the first or second meeting in June and added that, in theory, if it were sent the second meeting in June then the new Budget and Finance Committee members could recall the whole thing. Mr. Steve Arbo, City Manager, said that he feels it is important that he work with the City Council and the Finance and Budget Committee on the budget, but Section 5.2 (e) Budget and Capital Program states that it is the responsibility of the City Manager to prepare and submit the annual budget to the Mayor and Council. Mr. Johnson disagreed stating that it’s not mandated that the City Manager’s budget is the one that the Council has to approve.
Vice Chairman Williams asked Mr. Johnson if there is a provision that prevents the existing members of the Budget and Finance Committee from staying. Mr. Johnson answered no, but there is also nothing that says they have to. Mr. Williams stated that in his experience, the members of this committee are usually chosen from Councilmembers that aren’t up for re-election and that process should be addressed by the Rules Committee. Mr. Johnson said that if the Mayor Pro Tempore is selected by the Mayor and the majority of the Council disagrees with that appointment, they could decide to not consent to the Committee recommendations. Mr. Johnson then asked what the penalties are when timelines for the Mayor making appointments, committees being assigned by the first meeting in June, etc. aren’t met. Mr. Williams said that those are also decisions better made by the Rules Committee.
Chairman Bratton reminded everyone that the City Charter is not an operational document. It’s the big picture. It has to be relevant for ten years.
Commissioner DeMoro asked Mr. Johnson how the Water District offices are elected. Mr. Johnson reported that they are an elected board, but it’s much like the school district where if they don’t have a number of filings that exceed the number of openings, they don’t hold elections.
3. Commission Comments
Commissioner DeMoro reported that he has had several community comments about a couple of changes that have been proposed that are either misunderstood or the Commission’s intent is thought to be too complicated or biased, specifically Sections 3.4 and 3.15.
Vice Chairman Williams explained that the Commission is not making changes to the Charter, it is only making recommendations and giving the community an opportunity to make changes.
Chairman Bratton explained that after the proposed charter amendments are finalized there will be an opportunity to educate the public on why the changes are being suggested and to answer questions.
Commissioners Cacchio and Beaudoin reiterated that Section 3.14 passed by a very small margin and they would like to have it brought back up for discussion during the Commission’s final review.
4. Review of Commission Actions:
A. REVIEW OPEN SECTIONS:
1) Section 3.7 (c) Filling of Vacancies – Discussed the reason Section 3.7 (c) was left open; there had been a consensus and not a vote.
On motion of Commissioner Atcheson and second by Commissioner Devine, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) to accept Article III, Section 3.7 as amended to now read “The Council by a majority vote of all its remaining members shall appoint a qualified person, as defined in Section 3.2, to fill a vacancy until the next regular municipal election as established by the Missouri election calendar in accordance with state law, for which timely notice may be given, when a person will be elected by qualified voters to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.” Motion passed.
2) Section 3.13 (e)(2) Prohibitions – Discussed the reason Section 3.13 (e)(2) was left open; there had been a consensus and not a vote.
On motion of Commissioner Atcheson and second by Commissioner Dayton, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) to accept Article III, Section 3.13 (e)(2) as amended to now read “A copy of each proposed ordinance shall be provided for each Council member at the time of its introduction, (striking the portion that read – and at least three copies shall be provided for public inspection in the Office of the City Clerk) and made available in electronic format until it is finally adopted or fails of adoption. Copies shall be available in the Office of the City Clerk and publically available on the City’s web site.” Motion passed.
B. SECTIONS REQUIRING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM STAFF:
1) Section 7.2 (a) Judges – Election and Terms – Discussed various methods that could be used to provide for the office of Presiding Judge within the Municipal Court; allow the Mayor and Council to name the presiding judge; allow the Jackson County Presiding Judge to name the presiding judge; allow the judge with the greatest number of consecutive years of service on the City court to remain the presiding judge; alternate the presiding judge between the two judges every two years or leave the section as written with no changes.
There was also discussion about the Supreme Court Rule 37.04 regarding the judge’s role in supervising court personnel and amending the amendment to Section 7.3 Court Administrator.
On motion of Commissioner Atcheson and second by Commissioner Cox, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) to accept Article VII, Section 7.2 (a) as written with no amendments. Motion passed.
On motion of Commissioner Atcheson and second by Commissioner Cox to accept Article VII, Section 7.3 as written with no amendments. Commissioner Atcheson withdrew his motion and Commissioner Cox withdrew his second.
On motion of Commissioner Ruiz and second by Commissioner DeMoro, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) to reopen Article VII, Section 7.3. Motion passed.
On motion of Vice Chairman Williams and second by Commissioner Dayton, the Commission voted unanimously 10-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”) to accept Article VII, Section 7.3 as amended to now read “The Council shall provide for a Court Administrator, clerks and other personnel for the Municipal Court. The Court Administrator and other court employees shall discharge all duties incident of the court administration under the direction and control of the presiding judge of the Circuit. All issues and matters not incident to court administration shall be subject to the policies and procedures of the City and fall under the direction and control of the City Manager, except as provided by law. The City Manager, or his/her designee, shall appoint, suspend or remove, and render the annual performance review of the Court Administrator, after consultation with the Municipal Court Judges.” Motion passed.
2) Section 11.4 Capital Program – No discussion, in compliance
3) Section 14.3 Political Activity – No discussion, in compliance
On motion of Commissioner Devine and second by Commissioner Atcheson, the Commission voted unanimously 9-0 (Commissioners Derks and Trafton “Absent”, Commissioner Devine “Away From Table”) to accept Article XIV, Section 14.3 as written with no amendments. Motion passed.
Commissioner Cox stated for the record that the City Attorney’s comments on Article XIV, Section 14.3 were by the request of the Commission for information and input on this issue.
There was discussion about scheduling final citizen input and the final review of Articles.
C. RECONSIDERATION OF ARTICLES, AS REQUESTED BY CITIZENS -
1) Joan Williams – Article VII, Parks & Recreation Board – Suggested an elected Park Board
2) Rob Stitt – Article V. City Manager; Section 7.2 Judges; and Proposed Section
3.15 Charter Violation and Ethics Code
These citizen comments were add to the Pro’s and Con’s list for discussion during the final review process.
D. REVIEW OF PROS/CONS – Postponed until after public hearing.
Denise Chisum, City Clerk, announced that the MML accepted the offer to review the proposed charter amendments for best practices.
The September 20, 2016, City Charter Review Commission meeting was adjourned by Chairman Bratton at 7:45 p.m. at City Hall, 220 SE Green Street, Council Committee Room.
Action Letter by Stacy Lombardo, Public Works Administrative Assistant, Recorder.
- Charter Review Minutes, Nov. 15, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, Nov. 1, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, Oct. 18, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, Oct 4
- Charter Review Minutes, Aug 16, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, Aug 2, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, July 19, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, July 6, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, June 21, 2016
- Charter Review Minutes, June 7, 2016
Practicing the Act of Civility