Letters to the Editor

Governance changes well on the way | Letters | Dec. 18

Where are we nearly seven months after the change to the council-manager form of government?

We are well along in the process of adopting city governance structures and procedures to suit the requirements of our new form of government. They will bring effectiveness and responsiveness to community concerns and opinions into play in everything our city government does, from the legislation provided by the council to the services provided by our staff.

In practical terms, we are creating a governance coordination plan to define the roles and responsibilities of the City Council and the administration, and to map out how the two will interact with one another and the public.

In August, the City Council created a task force of two council members, Kim Brackett and Barry Peters. They identified specific areas that need to be addressed in this coordination plan. I joined this task force in September with the intent of sharing my perspective as the first mayor selected by the City Council from among its members.

This effort moved in to high gear in November following the arrival of Interim City Manager Lee Walton and Interim Deputy City Manager Stan McNutt. Stan, who has considerable experience in creating just such plans, has met three times with the task force.

One important element of this process has been a thorough evaluation of our committee structures, both for the council and our volunteer citizen advisory groups. We are considering some changes to these structures in order to better serve the purpose of public participation, facilitating input and comment from the public on decision processes both on administrative and legislative matters.

I can report that this task force is on the verge of presenting a progress report to the full council, and obtaining their input on what has happened so far and how to move to the next level. A special council meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 6 for this purpose.

On other matters, I am also pleased to report that the council has completed its work on the 2010 budget, the Six Year Capital Facility Plan, and other matters that require completion by the end of the year. This work will leave the city’s administration and the new council well positioned to move ahead not only in the area of governance coordination but on the ordinary business of government, providing the services our community expects and deserves.

Chris Snow, mayor

and council member

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