City looks at changes to policies and procedures

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The city council held a special meeting this week to discuss its overall policies and procedures and agree to further explore a number of ways to better serve citizens.

Pam Albers, a city council member who once served as city attorney, requested further exploration into the city’s relationship with it’s current firm, BB&K, represented by Scott Campbell, the city’s current attorney.

Albers said the relationship is “not economical,” adding that she has explored various ways to change the relationship with the city.

She gave several specific examples of how they have tried to hold down the cost of the city attorney’s involvement, including a recent task that she felt had taken more time than expected.

City Manager Denise Radde told Albers that she believed adjustments could be made and in fact, that they do occasionally challenge the billing.

Both Albers and Council member Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy acknowledged that oftentimes council members have called on the city attorney to discuss a number of topics and that it is sometimes necessary to do so.

Albers said she wanted to get additional input before reevaluate the city’s relationship with its city attorney and better “manage the city attorney’s time” spent on Avalon issues.

The Council also expressed an openness to explore electing a mayor for a four-year term, instead of two. Albers suggested it was “disruptive” to have an election every two years.

Council member Oley Olsen reminded Albers that city voters had approved the election of a two-year term mayor back in the 1980’s and the Council expressed support for further exploration of having that extended to a four-year term.

Most members of the Council expressed no interest in going back to the system of having the Council select a mayor for one-year terms and having the post rotate as does many other California cities.

Other items that could be changed included;

• Adding some sort of “public comment” section to the city’s website, allowing citizens to have an ability to express concerns to city staff members and elected representatives.

• Extending the time from three minutes to four minutes for public comment periods during meetings or allowing time on a case-by-case basis, given they can find a better method of timing (the city is examining various timing systems).

Consider mandating monies back to Council members for public representation events be turned back into the city. “If taxpayers are paying for us to be in that (various) association, taxpayers should get the money back,” said Mayor Anni Marshall.

According to the city’s agenda, the “ultimate goal of this process is to understand the guidelines of appropriate operating procedures and policies.

The Avalon City Council Policies Manual serves as a resource for Council Members, Department Heads, city staff and members of the public in determining the manner in which city business is conducted.”

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