10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

The San Bernardino City Council on Tuesday took a step toward eliminating three commissions that were characterized as inactive or having fulfilled their purpose.

The council voted 4-1, with Wendy McCammack casting the dissenting vote and Chas Kelley out of the room, to ask city staff to put the proposal on a City Council agenda.

On the block are the Central City Parking Place, Community Television and Youth Advisory commissions.

City Attorney Jim Penman said there was not enough specificity on Tuesday’s agenda for the council to vote on actually eliminating the commissions on Tuesday.

“I think there is a Brown Act problem as far as notice,” Penman said, citing the state’s open-meeting law.

McCammack worried that eliminating the commissions would limit the public’s ability to participate in government. Residents not associated with city government usually serve on the panels.

The councilwoman also took issue with the hiring of Bill Mathis, identified as a management psychologist, to run the discussion of the proposal on Tuesday. Mathis said he has been paid $3,000 by the city in the past year to help meetings run smoothly.

“We pay the city manager a lot of money, and it’s inappropriate to pay someone else to do the same work,” McCammack said.

The council also approved moving ahead with combining the police, fire, animal control and bureau of franchises into one public safety committee. McCammack dissented in the 5-1 vote. The council voted 6-0 to establish a Santa Ana River Trails Commission only as needed. It had not met in two to three years. City officials could not decide when it last met.

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