|(July 7, 2018, 10:58 a.m., updated July 9, 12:30 p.m.) -- An item on the July 10 City Council agenda seeks Council approval to have the City Attorney draft Municipal Code provisions to prevent LB City Hall "Advisory Bodies" -- including bodies created by the City Council whose members are picked by the Mayor, approved by the Council and have only "advisory" and no decisionmaking powers - from agendizing for Commission discussion items not approved by the City Manager of his staff. (The non-elected City Manager answers to the elected Mayor and Council.)
Responding to a request for clarification by LBREPORT.com, Assistant City Attorney Mike Mais says that as he understands the agenda item, it only relates to proposed changes to Chapter 2.18 of the Municipal Code which only applies to "Council established" advisory boards, commissions and committees (section 2.18.010). Thus, it doesn't appear that any of the proposed changes would apply to Charter created commissions such as Planning, Parks and Recreation, Water or Harbor since they aren't covered by that Chapter (2.18) of the Code.
To view the item as agendized, click here.
The same item also proposes to give the Mayor the power to remove Advisory Commissioner(s) without publicly stating any reason with Council majority voted approval. [In 2007, LB voters gave the Mayor "for any reason" removal power over Charter Commissioners [Harbor, Water] if approved by a 2/3 Council vote. Harbor Commissioner Tom Fields (who defied Foster) was the first to feel this lash in Nov. 2013.]
Mayor Garcia and Councilmembers aren't likely to admit trying to control discussion, squelch dissent or silence alternative advice from "advisory bodies" whose advice they supposedly seek. It's more plausible that they'd have their City Manager safely camouflage the action with high fallutin' sounding reasons. City Manager Pat West's agendizing memo [in full here] is full of them:
[Scroll down for further.]
...[B]oth the [advisory] bodies and the City Council have recently expressed some confusion about the bodies' roles and responsibilities, including best practices for how bodies should operate, transmit ideas to the City Council, and set agendas. Moreover, a lack of clearly identifiable roles and guidelines have prevented the bodies from operating in an effective and efficient manner. In response, the Offices of the Mayor, City Manager, and the City Attorney have discussed various options to enhance the delivery of services by the bodies, and determined that amending key sections of the LBMC pertaining to the bodies would significantly improve how the bodies operate with the City Council and City staff. The proposed changes will enable members of the bodies to better understand their roles and responsibilities, allow City staff to better support the bodies through defined operating procedures, and provide guidelines for communicating input to the Mayor and the City Council. Specific changes will clearly address defining the duties and functions of advisory bodies, identifying the City staff responsible for setting the advisory bodies' agendas, clarifying the permissible uses of City staff resources, and clarifying authority over City officers and employees. The intention is to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of the City's advisory bodies, and make the work more efficient and productive.
Below are some of the changes proposed to make the advisory commissions "more efficient and productive." Ask yourself whose views they'd amplify and whose viewpoints they'd mute:
The bottom line: the proposed changes would ensure that LB's Mayor-chosen/Council-approved "advisory bodies" don't try to offer advice that city management or the Mayor or some City Councilmembers don't want to hear. And some "Advisory Commissioners" who don't "know their place" cpuld lose their city business cards and substantively empty titles.
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Update as indicated above with some text revisions at 9:30 p.m, June 7
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