Wednesday, March 20, 2024

My 3.19 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss a several significant items:

- First we met in closed session to discuss the appointment of an Interim City Manager.  There were no reportable actions from the closed session.  As we go through the process of finding a new City Manager there will likely be several more closed sessions where the Council deliberates.  

- On the consent calendar we updated the City's Purchasing Policy to require an informational item any time the City Manager exercises their discretion in executing service/consulting agreements including a quarterly report out of all ongoing such agreements.  Recently the Budget and Audit Committee discussed with staff some of these expenditures, including over nearly $20K in HR consulting, nearly $20K in assistance implementing SB 1383 for recycling, $30K in a non-cancellable contract for the video website Rep'd, on top of the approximate $2K/week for accounting assistance.

- We received an update on the Interim and permanent City Manager positions and chose Bob Murray and Associates for the firm to assist in both placements.  Bob Murray is a well known governmental recruitment agency and agreed to do both placements at no cost other than direct out of pocket expenses.  We also appointed an ad-hoc committee to assist staff in administrative inquiries and later to facilitate negotiations with candidates.

Originally Councilmember Cloven was opposed to forming this ad-hoc committee, concerned that such a committee would unduly influence the process.  Our City Attorney explained that having the committee is a benefit to staff and that without it, the process may be delayed because we could only address inquiry during Council meetings rather than on an ad hoc basis.  In the interest of alleviating staff burden, I suggested it could be beneficial and that I would support Vice Mayor Trupiano and either Councilmember Tillman or Cloven.  Councilmember Tillman declined.  

Cloven relayed to me that he was very upset that upon hearing of the resignation of our City Manager, I had called Bob Murray and Associates directly.  Bob Murray and Associates is under contract with the City to provide recruitment services at no cost given the prior placement and I wanted to give them a heads up that the City would likely be in contact.  In these matters, time is of the essence and given that we would only have 1 regularly scheduled meeting between the time notice was given and our City Manager's departure, this was appropriate.  I also communicated the same to staff and our City Attorney as no one had yet made contact with the recruiter.

Cloven felt that upon hearing of the departure of a key staff member, we should wait until a meeting to discuss what we should do, even simple administrative functions like making a phone call.  And while Councilmember Cloven originally declined being part of the ad hoc committee, when he realized that if he didn't do it, I would, he changed his mind.  This vote was 5-0.

- We then discussed declaring up to 5 acres of two large City owned parcels at the bottom of Peacock Creek as surplus consistent with the Surplus Land Act (SLA).  The City does not use this land, and a developer has expressed interest in purchasing it for housing development.  The SLA requires that any surplus land first be offered to affordable housing developers for a period of 60 days.  If no affordable housing developers express interest, then the City can sell the land in the open market.  This vote was 5-0.