Friday, February 11, 2011

Ethics, Youth & Family, Elected Officials

The city's Charter Review Commission will have its next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 16. I know that I'd promised to keep everyone up-to-date on the happenings on this important commission, but to date the work has been mostly research and drafting of proposals. This week that all changes as the commission winds down its work and begins the decision process on what should be presented to the voters in 2012 as potential changes to the charter.

To review the process, the Charter Review Commission has 1 year to prepare proposed changes to the city's charter. The charter is akin to the city's constitution and is the basic document that mandates how the city shall be run. Any proposals by the Commission will be placed on the next municipal election (in this case Nov. 2012). The City Council does not have any approval of the work of the Commission. As a courtesy, the Commission will present a draft of the proposed changes to the Council in April for their review and comment, but they are under no more obligation to act on the comments of the Council than they are to act on the comments of any member of the public.

Now on to the items to be discussed on Feb. 16:

Article IV--Elected Officals
The Charter Review Commission has a proposal before it (see the proposal on the city's web site at below for instructions) to make substantive changes to the way that elected officials are chosen in the city. It will be proposed that the Mayor be elected in Odd numbered years instead of in years that already have council races. This would eliminate the perceived inequity that some council people have when deciding to run for the mayor's seat. There is also a proposal to change the way that vacancies are filled so that a councilperson who resigns may not be reappointed to their seat. Finally, a section has been added to better define the duties of a councilperson since no such definition currently exists in the charter.

The Commission decided not to take up the issues of district elections since an initiative has already been submitted which would change that part of the charter. Since the initiative is for a special election, it would come prior to the 2012 election where our Charter changes would come up. We decided to let the voters decide in the special election and then leave it to the next Charter Review Commission in 2020 to determine if additional changes need to be made.

Article III--City Powers
A proposal has been made to add a section to this article which includes language regarding the Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan, codifying it as a part of the city commitment to this important activity.

Article XIV--Ethics
This proposal (which, in the spirit of disclosure is something that I've been intimately involved in working on) would rewrite the current Article XIV--Municipal Campaign Financing and Conflict of Interest, to become a more generalized section on Ethics within city government. While it would include the items currently in the charter, it would add the formation of an Ethics Commission which would be charged with writing an Ethics Code for the city (we don't currently have one) and enforcing compliance to said code. The charter proposal doesn't specify what should be in the Ethics Code, but leaves that up to the Ethics Commission.

The last item that we will be taking up is the commission's response to the replacement (with only 3 months left for the commission's tenure) of two of the commissioner's as a result of the recent election. The draft letter is part of the meeting materials online.

You can read the agenda for the meeting and all the proposals online on the city's web site at . The link will take you to the document browser. From there click on COMMISSIONS--AGENDAS AND MINUTES-->CHARTER REVIEW-->Agendas And Reports-->2011-->2-16-2011. This will take you to the page with all of the documents for our meeting. The Agenda, Minutes, and the reports are all there and viewable. They can also be downloaded as PDF files.

Future meetings will be discussing the possible formation of a Police Commission, Elections (slightly different than Elected Officials), Rules for Commission, and other issues within the charter. I promise that I'll report on any upcoming meetings.

If you have comments to make on any of these items, or any other items which may come before the Commission, please feel free to attend. The meetings are open to the public and public comment is appreciated.


meg said...

Thanks for keeping us up to day, John!

John Clifford said...

Thanks Meg, I'll even keep you up to morrow. :-)