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    News

    Vice Mayor Colonna Withdraws Council Item On Possibly Assigning More City Staff To Councilmembers Rep'ing City On Boards Or Committees Beyond Council Office Duties


    (April 21, 2003) -- In a memo to the Mayor and his Council colleagues sent today, Vice Mayor Frank Colonna has withdrawn an item he'd agendized for the April 22 Council meeting which suggested the Council consider possibly assigning more city staff to Councilmembers representing the city on boards of committees beyond their strict Council office duties.

    Vice Mayor Colonna's memo today states:

    In the spirit of continuing to work toward balancing the budget and the evaluation and cost-cutting efforts confronting our City Council, I respectfully withdraw Item #15 from the Council agenda scheduled for April 22, 2003. I look forward to the future, in our ability as a council body, to discuss the possibilities, as well as the benefits, outlined in the suggested item.

    LBReport.com was the first LB media outlet to report Vice Mayor Colonna's now-withdrawn proposal (April 19).

    Vice Mayor Colonna holds positions (appointed by Mayor Beverly O'Neill) on government bodies outside City Hall. He is currently President of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments and is a member of the Board of Directors of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.


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    Date: To: From: Subject: City of Long Beach Working Together to Serve April 22,2003 Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers Frank A. Colonna, Vice Mayor, Third Council District & Memorandum Request Survey: Council Repraentation on Boards or Committees that May Be Outside Of and In Addition To the Strict Duties of the Council office. There has been much criticism of City Council office budgets given the size of the Cityís structural deficit and the need to reduce expenditures in keeping with the now-adopted Three Year Financial Strategic Plan. Some of this criticism is appropriate and, I believe, Council representatives should look for ways to economize office operations so as to achieve greater efficiency and resulting cost savings. There is, however, a need to further discuss the situation that occurs when Councilmembers agree to serve on policy boards that benefit the City, but require efforts beyond those that are traditional for a Council office. In my case, I have served the City Council (with pride and pleasure) on both the Gateway Cities Council of Governments Executive Committee and the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy Board of Directors over the past two years or so. During that time, I have devoted countless hours to the effort of helping to lead and develop these organizations into viable and successful entities that will serve increasingly larger and more beneficial roles for both Long Beach and the greater Long Beach area in the years ahead. Yet, my Council office staff ends up providing much of the day to day administrative and office support that is needed to keep me current with these organizations. Although each organization does indeed have modest staff resources, each exist with relatively meager budgets and the amount of staff support provided to me as chair of each organization is minimal. I know that other Council representatives have faced or are facing similar dilemmas. With many Councilmembers becoming increasingly more involved in California and National League of Cities committees, and other organizations, I would guess this is a growing issue. This situation is much like what must face a member of Congress or State Legislature where the member is accorded an office budget and staff for district affairs, however, if assigned as a committee chair, is also provided with staff support devoted specifically to that committee. This is a more reasonable way in which to provide the staff and material support to ensure that members of Congress and/or the Legislature are as effective as is possible to both hidher district but also to the committee he/she serves. Again, I understand the Cityís delicate financial condition and want to do all that I can as a Councilmember to reduce office overhead costs to the maximum extent possible. At the same time, I would suggest that the Council consider studying this issue further and possibly assigning more appropriate levels of staff support to Councilmembers who are asked to represent the City on the boards or committees of organizations that may be outside of and in addition to the strict duties of the Council office. April 16,2003 Page 2 I would ask for your support in referring this matter to the City Manager and ask that the Managerís office conduct a survey of a representative number of California Cities to determine what approaches are used to address similar situations in those cities and that the results of this review be brought back to the Council within 60 days for further discussion. FC/jc 2003 agenda 4-03 Staff