Recommendations would revamp City Hall
Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 04/16/2011 10:15:08 PM PDT

UPLAND – The City Council is considering some significant changes to the way the city’s elected government operates.

The City Council Advisory Committee has presented three recommendations to the council. One would limit campaign contributions, one would examine placing a rotating mayor measure on a future ballot, and one would give the council more say in who sits on city commissions and committees.

The campaign finance regulations would limit donations to a candidate or their election committee at $2,000 per person or entity over a two-year period. There would be no limit on how much candidates can contribute to their own campaigns.

Changing from an elected mayor to a rotating mayor would need to be placed on a ballot for voters to decide.

The committee is “not asking the city to put that on an out-of-cycle election, meaning this November. They’re looking at 2012,” said Stephen Dunn, interim city manager and finance director.

“It will be brought up at some future meeting and the council will decide whether or not they want a vote to make that determination.”

Mayor Ray Musser said he introduced and favored the rotating mayor system but has since been receiving calls from residents who are not in favor of it.

“I don’t know where I stand on that issue,” Musser said. “I don’t object to having the people vote on it. If we go that way, fine. I got almost 3-to-1 calls saying `Ray what are we doing? You’re taking the power away from the people.”‘

If there is not a change to the rotating mayor, Musser said more checks and balances will need to be put in place, such as campaign contributions.

“The other thing is to have accountability, not just campaign finance,” Musser said. “But after there is an election, you have to have accountability, and that we did not have in the past three, four, six years almost.”

A third recommendation would change the way commission and committee appointees are selected. Currently, the mayor appoints members and the council votes on them.

The committee recommends each council member and the mayor appoint an individual.

However, in order for the appointee to be approved, the mayor will need to vote yes in order to comply with state law, committee chairman Tom Mitchell said.

“It allows the mayor to have a veto authority,” Mitchell said. “The mayor could still say no, but at least it has to be done in the open and you’ll have to explain why you don’t want that particular person.”

The committee has already given the council its recommendation on a new ethics ordinance designed to hold all city officials accountable.The City Council may consider approving the ordinance at its next council meeting.

To read entire story, click here.