Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mayors can’t appoint Councils

Speech to Grants Pass City Council, 11/18/09, posted on
Dennis Webber wrote a guest opinion in the Daily Courier on October 30th,   titled, “Appointments were the best way to handle our unprecedented situation.”  I commend Mr. Webber for joining the argument.
He tells us, “The governing principle used was that of returning the council to an elected status as fully and as quickly as possible.”  Is this so sacred a principle in Grants Pass?  The recalled councilors made frequent boast of the fact that they were the first fully elected council in many years—and yet they were recalled.  Apparently, Grants Pass voters do not greatly object to appointed councilors.
Mr. Webber tells us, “Some have suggested that the remaining elected officials resign and the Josephine County Commissioners appoint an entirely new council.”  Thank you for the admission that you need not resign; only the elected officials are actually official. 
But the Commissioners would only appoint a new quorum; the quorum would then appoint the remainder of the council.  The Commissioners would want some current institutional expertise on the council; I’d be surprised if they didn’t appoint several of the current elected council.  That quorum would then be able to fill out the council from candidates who are interested in long-term service for no pay 
Is it really such a great idea to have a special election in March?  It will cost more money.  Plus, our town is polarized from the recall of the council, and the further insult of mayoral appointment of councilors, a truly unprecedented situation not authorized by law—a single man, appointing a quorum.  It’s supposed to be the other way around.  For the remainder of the Council to step down, even temporarily, would sooth a lot of wounds and give this town time to heal.  The last thing we need right now is an election campaign for five seats.
No elected official is being “forcefully recalled”—yet.  You are being asked to resign for the good of the City and the citizenry.  It is a non-lucrative post.  You should all be just as happy to serve the citizens by stepping down as by stepping up.
 We need a legal council now, not in March.  As matters stand, this Council is afraid to make any truly important and controversial decisions, to the point of ignoring the Charter regarding hiring of a City Manager.  We don’t need an interim Council and an interim Manager who can only make interim, non-controversial decisions.  We need a legal Council and a legal City Manager who can do the hard, dirty work of governance, necessary evil, with full and uncontested authority.
Published at under Ignoring the Law #2.

  Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener       541-955-9040

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