Tuesday, January 20, 2009

City Commission Meeting 1/20/09

Click title for link for LIVE Commission audio stream. Commissioner Jennings added an item under unfinished business "Comprehensive Plan". There were other additions, but they were garbled in the stream. The following was being typed during the meeting - I tried to keep up the best I could.

The City Manager search consultant is amazed that three (3) commissioners (eh hem) don't think that it should be a requirement to have local government experience. She is willing to go with "employment with a city or local government function" rather than "senior management experience in city or local government." She says that where it has been successful, it is usually for smaller governments. She thinks that maybe getting someone who was in city government originally, left to the private sector and then come back. Commissioner Golden is talking about someone like Frank Brogan who can bring in money, but thinks that government experience is necessary. Commissioner Jennings suggests saying that we have a preference for city experience, but if we think they are an exceptional in some area, then they may be worth considering. Mayor Clemens says that government experience is unique and could include non-profits. Commissioner Jennings is pushing for someone with "utility management" experience. She thinks they need to work on agreement regarding the interaction between the City Manager and the City Commission. Do they want an advocate of their own opinions or one that will do what they say and just give them the facts? Residency was discussed, but more toward "desired" than "required." They did talk about having it be "reasonable driving distance" which they thought that was a half-hour drive.

They thought that the $170,000 at the upper range of salary was high. Commissioner Jennings wanted some sort of maximum percentage that the salary could be in relation to the lowest paid employment. Mayor Clemens wants a higher salary range to bring in good talent due to challenges present here and heaps praise on Mr. Baldwin who is paid $30,000 more than his predecessor.

Beach activity report - Rachel Bach gave the report since December 10. They are getting a Request for a Letter of Interest for the design criteria package to improve the building and the site. There are six structural engineering reports since 1995. A recent report was received as late as last Friday. The design criteria agent can't also bid on the eventual RFP. Mayor Clemens seems a little hot about this taken more time than the Commission expected. He ends up apologizing that he had the wrong impression. Commissioner Mulvehill doesn't like going back to other structural engineers to review the various reports. She disses Building Official Feranelli. Commissioner Jennings thinks they made a bad decision that night - she thought that it would be cheaper but then thought about it again and now isn't so sure. Talks about a possible new building now. She thinks that the RLI should include the possibility of a new building. Commissioner Mulvehill thinks the history component that hasn't been investigated. (read previous post). Mayor Clemens "eyeballed it" and thinks the renovation of the new building would be more expensive. Staff will do the selection after the RLI is returned January 31, 2009. Once a firm is picked to create the RFP, it might be early Spring. The Mayor thought he would have the RFP out in January. The Mayor wants the RFP to be flexible. Commsisioner Jennings thinks that it all may be too expensive and the effort may be wasted then. She admits that it's not her field.

Staff says that there is an April deadline from the County regarding the $5 million for a new agreement. "How do you come up with a feasibility study if you don't know what you are doing. " - Commissioner Golden. They seem to want to leave open the possibility of demolition and new construction. Commissioner Mulvehill still thinks it's somehow possible for a National Historic Designation. It looks like it is headed for a workshop - surprised? And they may cancel the joint CRA workshop with the Commission scheduled for next Tuesday and have a workshop on the beach in its place.

They decided to issue the RLI 3 to 1, with Commissioner Mulvehill dissenting. It will include the possibility of demolition. Commissioner Jennings back-peddled big time and is now again considering the Coastal Construction Line.

Regarding the financial analysis to be prepared by Fishkind, Finance Manager Bates says that the assumption is that the beach would be self-sustaining financially. They did talk about the difference between market rates and what is being paid now, which was acknowledged as lower than market. The study is predicted to come back in late February. They want to include a lot of variables.

It pains me to listen to the above. When you get down to it, the electeds are pretty clueless about what they want and have trouble understanding the whole process. When will the public be able to express their opinion?