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Charter Amendments other than Issue 29

I have not posted about the Charter Amendments other than Issue 29, until now, because of the importance of making sure Issue 29 is defeated.  I have always judge the current charter as being very well written with only Section 5 needing a re-write.  It is a shame that I have to actively campaign against Issue 29 and the proposed changes to Section 5.  

Mayor's Thoughts:  


Issue 28 -   Currently the Clerk of the Council supervises the Deputy Clerk of the Council.  This amendment formalizes how we operate today and also makes it a requirement.  This reduces council’s flexibility if on the off chance a different supervision arrangement turned out to be better. 
 
It also does not address other situations such as who then supervises additional staff hired to support this office.  For instance, if council decides to hire someone part time to help with records requests does this amendment help clarify who will supervise that individual?  
 
It is not important if it passes or fails, but I assess that the negative impact is greater than the positive so I will be voting no.

Issue 27 – This change is detrimental to the charter because it does not address what happens after 8 days.  The two most logical interpretations would be either: 1) the mayor still retains the right to appoint and all this change does is add doubt to the process if for some reason the mayor does not make the appointment within 8 days or 2) the mayor loses the right to appoint and so the ward will go without representation until the next time a representative is elected.  As currently written we know the authority stays with the mayor and a representative can be appointed. Residents should vote no on this proposed change.

Issue 26 – Roberts Rule of Order tell us that an ex-officio member of a committee has all the same privileges as every other member of the committee. This would include voting.  Council changed the rules of council (which are required to be consistent with the charter) so that the mayor does not vote in committee.
 
This change will make the Charter consistent with the Rules of Council.
 
This ballot measure is basically a referendum on whether the public wants the Mayor’s position on proposed legislation or projects recorded and open to public scrutiny or if they want it to remain undeclared.
 
Vote yes if you want it to be a secret how the mayor would vote.  Vote no to tell council the mayor’s position should be recorded and open to public scrutiny.   


Caveat: Section 4.04 of the City Charter contains this sentence “The Mayor shall be a member of Council but shall not have the right to vote on issues before Council except in the cases where the vote for the remaining members of Council results in a tie vote, in which cases the Mayor must cast the deciding vote.” 
This leaves room to debate what “issue before Council” means.  I interpret this as issues voted on during actual council meetings. Votes taken during committee meetings have no “legal” weight so my interpretation is they are not actual issues before council.  

Issue 25
There was some back and forth between the City Attorney, the Council and the Charter Review Committee about some subtle points.  I am not too sure if the final language ended up being what the City Attorney was trying to convey.  This is mostly because I did not try to study the subtle points.  I do not recall being presented with a specific issue that resulted from the current language.  I have no specific recommendation on how to vote on this issue.  But since the language has worked well for more than 30 years I plan on playing it safe and voting no. 


Issue 24 – The first part of this proposed change is redundant with section 4.02 except section 4.02 uses the term “Districts” and the new version of section 2.01 uses the word “Ward”. 
 
The redundancy seems unnecessary.
 
The committee should have changed section 4.02 to use the word “Ward”.  Using two different terms for the same purpose introduces confusion.
 
I like the additional instruction on how to create the Ward boundaries although it should have been added into Section 4.
 
The choice here is whether the benefit from adding the instruction for the Ward boundaries is strong enough to overcome the redundancy and the uncertainty caused over the additional terms used.  Do we make sure the Ward instructions get in now and clean up the format later or do we do it all correctly in the next attempt at charter revisions?
 
I have not made up my mind which way I will vote on this issue.

Original post:  -----------------------------------------------
I have not posted about the Charter Amendments other than Issue 29 because of the importance of making sure Issue 29 is defeated.  I have always judge the current charter as being very well written with only Section 5 needing a re-write.  It is a shame that I have to actively campaign against the proposed changes to Section 5.  

Because the rest of the Charter was so well written in the first place, it shouldn't be too surprising that I rate the other proposed changes as either about as good as the current version or detrimental to the current version.  Here are my specific thoughts:  First you will see the ballot language, then the Charter language then my thoughts.

Issue 28:

Issue 28 ballot languare

Section 4.08 language comparison
Mayor's Thoughts:  

Issue 28 -   Currently the Clerk of the Council supervises the Deputy Clerk of the Council.  This amendment formalizes how we operate today and also makes it a requirement.  This reduces council’s flexibility if on the off chance a different supervision arrangement turned out to be better. 
 
It also does not address other situations such as who then supervises additional staff hired to support this office.  For instance, if council decides to hire someone part time to help with records requests does this amendment help clarify who will supervise that individual?  
 
I am indifferent if it passes or not, but assess that the negative impact is greater than the positive and will be voting no.


Issue 27 Ballot Language

Section 4.07 charter language comparison

Mayor's Thought:

Issue 27 – This change is detrimental to the charter because it does not address what happens after 8 days.  The two most logical interpretations would be either: 1) the mayor still retains the right to appoint and all this change does is add doubt to the process if for some reason the mayor does not make the appointment within 8 days or 2) the mayor loses the right to appoint and so the ward will go without representation until the next time a representative is elected.  As currently written we know the authority stays with the mayor and a represented can be appointed. Residents should reject this proposed change.


Issue 26 ballot language

Section 4.04 charter language comparision

Mayor's Thoughts:

Issue 26 – Roberts Rule of Order tell us that an ex-officio member of a committee has all the same privileges as every other member of the committee. This would include voting.  Council changed the rules of council (which are required to be consistent with the charter) so that the mayor does not vote in committee.
 
This change will make the Charter consistent with the Rules of Council.
 
This ballot measure is basically a referendum on whether the public wants the Mayor’s position on proposed legislation or projects recorded and open to public scrutiny or if they want it to remain undeclared.
 
Vote yes if you want it to be a secret how the mayor would vote.  Vote no to tell council the mayor’s position should be recorded and open to public scrutiny.   


Caveat: Section 4.04 of the City Charter contains this sentence “The Mayor shall be a member of Council but shall not have the right to vote on issues before Council except in the cases where the vote for the remaining members of Council results in a tie vote, in which cases the Mayor must cast the deciding vote.” 
This leaves room to debate what “issue before Council” means.  I interpret this as issues voted on during actual council meetings. Votes taken during committee meetings have no “legal” weight so my interpretation is they are not actual issues before council.  

Issue 25 Ballot Language

Section 3.02 Charter language

Mayor's Thoughts:

Issue 25
There was some back and forth between the City Attorney, the Council and the Charter Review Committee about some subtle points.  I am not too sure if the final language ended up being what the City Attorney was trying to convey.  This is mostly because I did not try to study the subtle points.  I do not recall being presented with a specific issue that resulted from the current language.  I have no specific recommendation on how to vote on this issue.  


Issue 24 ballot language

Section 2.01 charter language

Mayor's Thoughts:

Issue 24 – The first part of this proposed change is redundant with section 4.02 accept section 4.02 uses the term “Districts” and the new version of section 2.01 uses the word “Ward”. 
 
The redundancy seems unnecessary.
 
The committee should have changed section 4.02 to use the word “Ward”.  Using two different terms for the same purpose introduces confusion.
 
I like the additional instruction on how to create the Ward boundaries although it should have been added into Section 4.
 
The choice here is whether the benefit from adding the instruction for the Ward boundaries is strong enough to overcome the redundancy and the uncertainty caused over the additional terms used.  Do we make sure the Ward instructions get in now and clean up the format later or do we do it all correctly in the next attempt at charter revisions?
 
I am indifferent to which way the voters choose.  




 

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