‘Strong mayor,’ council meet at Gold Hill station

       For the first time since the “strong mayor” form of government took effect last May, the Westside's Gold Hill police substation hosted a meeting of Mayor Steve Bach and City Council Feb. 22.

Mayor Steve Bach and City Council President Scott Hente (left to right with backs to wall) led the discussion at a mayor/council meeting Feb. 22 at the Gold Hill police substation.
Westside Pioneer photo

       In a casual, generally amiable session, the group chiefly discussed governance and communications questions that have arisen in recent months, stemming from the November 2010 charter election that changed responsibilities for mayor and council members.
       Council took no votes, nor did Bach ask the group to vote on anything.
       The session, which was open to the public but not to citizen comments, was called the “Mayor's Counsel Meeting.”
       The meeting was held at Gold Hill mainly because its community room could handle the anticipated meeting attendance (more than 50 people); also, the location is close to downtown (where city offices are) and has plenty of parking, explained Cindy Aubrey, the city's chief communications officer.
       Earlier, a city press release had stated that another Mayor's Counsel Meeting would be held at Gold Hill March 21, but during discussion Feb. 22 the group consensus was that beneficial public outreach could result by convening future such meetings at different police community rooms around the city. So March 21 will probably not be at Gold Hill after all, Aubrey said later. It also might not be March 21, based on Bach's announced concern that he wanted to meet on days/times when all councilmembers could be present. On Feb. 22, two councilmembers (Lisa Czelatdko and Val Snider) were not present (reportedly because of prior commitments), and Angela Dougan arrived late.
       In contrast to the old charter, in which the mayor was part of council, the “strong mayor” charter change eliminated the city manager position and gave those powers to the mayor along with control over nearly all city departments.
       The possibility of charter changes being on the ballot in the April 2013 election was brought up by Council President Scott Hente. He did not elaborate on what the changes might be.
       That election will also be the first to have six district council members instead of the current four, and Bach and Hente both urged city legal staff to seek flexibility in the city charter requirement stating that a new district map cannot be drawn up until 150 days before the election. Hente said that 150 days may not leave enough time for prospective candidates because they won't know what district they're in before that.

Westside Pioneer article