Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?
A: Council members serve on committees that direct and oversee the operation of the City departments and various agencies. The Council passes the budget and passes laws to govern the City. In my opinion, the first responsibility of the Council is to ensure the public safety. After that, to ensure the City’s resources and the taxes collected are used wisely to provide for and to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?
A: The Mayor and City Council have the final approval of actions taken by committees. The committees are where most of the work is done. Ideas are born, plans are made, and differences resolved prior to the committee bringing their recommendations before the entire Council. Both are important, but the City Council does have the final vote to approve or disapprove.
Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?
A: While I am for an open and transparent City government, I am not in favor of publishing committee minutes. In committee meetings we discuss future plans and strategies. If some of this information were published before plans are finalized, the City’s business could be adversely affected. The committee meetings are open to the public and the meeting schedules are posted on the City web page and any special meetings are advertised. The public may always attend.
Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?
A: No. The department heads meet regularly with Council committees. This arrangement provides greater opportunity for interaction with department heads and allows for more detailed reporting by them. Any recommended action is then brought to the attention of the Mayor and the entire Council.