City Council Study Session 27 March 2018 – Legislative Rules and Nex Gen Advisory Group

City Council Study Session.       27 March 2018             Citizen Minutes

 ID# 18-113 – Updates to council protocols and/or legislative procedures

Kathy Novak talked to the council about how to build a relationship. She asked the council to write down their expectations of council.

Jerry Valdes – be prepared – read and understand the package of material for each meeting. Ask questions.

Karina Elrod – ask questions for clarity sake not to form an opinion. And ask questions as early as possible. Listen to understand the other person.

Debbie Brinkman – be professional.

Valdes – respect each other. Brinkman said the “elected” may not recognize the depth of change once elected and it is a challenge – you are always on when you deal with the community, staff and each other.

Elrod – no personal attacks

Peggy Cole – treat people how you want to be treated.

Carol Fey – hear each other out and don’t take more than your share of time talking.

Cole – do not assume meaning or motives

Mark Relph – don’t surprise each other – give each other heads up. Brinkman said there are effective ways to sabotage each other and it is a disservice to staff and the community. It is never right and always wrong to do that.

Kyle Schlachter – keep an open mind, cooperate and be willing to compromise.

Cole – try to get the best outcome

Valdes – be flexible

Pat Driscoll – no stabbing each other behind their backs.

Brinkman – support each other – doesn’t mean that you agree but honor the process and their decisions.

Elrod – after a decision is made we have to support the overall decision of city council no matter how you voted.

Novak said it was important to talk about that – what if four prevailed and you feel really strong that it wasn’t the correct action – does it mean you can’t talk about it – how do you want to approach this situation?

Elrod – allow you to take your position but continue to move forward but what can I offer to minimize the risks as I see it and make the outcome better.

Brinkman said this was one of the hardest things to do – the marijuana issue is an important issue and Brinkman said she has a little disagreement with Elrod’s statement about working to improve the outcome.

Cole said the intent is not to undermine.

Relph mentioned the staff perspective – when council goes against the staff recommendation they have to do their best to support the body and staff has to wrestle with that. In their debriefing they always ask why.

Elrod – provide context for the base of your concerns

Carol Fey – forthrightfullness, honesty and transparency

Relph – get your questions to staff in advance of the meeting and staff will get the response to all council members.

Steve Kemp, city attorney, said some questions are straightforward but sometimes the questions require him to sit and give it some thought. If you have questions come see him.

Brinkman, as mayor, asked council members that if they want to amend an agenda item or change the agenda to let her know in advance.

Relph said staff could be helpful to council members that want to make a detailed amendment to an ordinance – they are there to help.

Cole suggested that they need to read with a critical eye and look for the weaknesses and ambiguity.

Brinkman – support and respect staff

Novak – regarding staff – public praise and private criticism

Schlachter – don’t be afraid to think out of the box

Brinkman – have honest conversations when there are differences – enjoy the work

Cole – be good fiduciaries of the people’s money

Brinkman – follow our rules

Cole – have a sense of humor

At this point Driscoll said that they voted in study sessions and Novak said they couldn’t vote at study sessions. Kemp said they take a consensus about the direction they will take.

Novak asked them to find the big issues in the list of expectations they just completed.

Brinkman – The section on Confidential Information needs to be clearer and more specific. The section of Public Statements – what does it mean and what can you say? The last sentence in VII Paragraph A – the guide is very restrictive

Cole wanted the difference in quasi-judicial to be clarified

Brinkman – the role of liaison needs a better definition

Fey wanted the word support (as in supporting decisions of the council even if you did not vote in favor) to be substituted with another word. Brinkman thought the word should be support – she thought the word accept means OK, I lost. Council shouldn’t have to accept but they need to support the decision of the body.

Elrod says it now says support the decision but we said we support the decision of the body and the process. Valdes said it was ok with him the way it was written. Fey said retail marijuana was voted against – am I required to say I support it?

Kemp mentioned public censure and public reprimand – Novak asked if they needed something to cover that. Brinkman said it was a “sticky icky” and tough.

Brinkman brought up the district meetings and what should the protocols be. It is not a financial responsibility of the city but a lot of cities do give each council member a $500 stipend to spend as they see fit each year giving everyone the same opportunities to connect with the citizens. Kemp said during the election cycle they should not be allowed to use city money – six months prior to the election is a good rule. Cole did not favor providing a stipend. Valdes suggested that the meetings be written up in the Littleton Report – just a generic notice. Kemp said that could still be a problem. Elrod asked why they are doing this. We are trying to solve getting input and having conversations. We need to come up with a communication strategy. Tie it back to our priorities about building collaborative relationships.

Schlachter thought a stipend would be needed. Novak reminded them that staff time needed to be included in the discussion.

Fey is the only council member that has had recent experience and she spent $300 of her own money to mail postcards to her district. Her meeting was a success and the next one will be April 21st at the museum.

Schlachter said he supported the stipend and that $500 was a very small amount of money. Fey asked if the meetings could be announced in the Littleton Report and Relph said it was up tot hem. Valdes said, in response to Schlachter, it is not very much money as long as we are not spending your own money but spending the taxpayer’s money.

Brinkman said she thought when Fey mentioned that she spent her own money to notify her district of her meeting that it was a message to the community. She did not want to overthink this and if there wasn’t any interest they would move on.

  1. b)  ID# 18-109  Littleton Next Generation Advisory Committee

Relph said Schlachter came to him asking about how to involve the younger people in Littleton. The subject was researched and by-laws were drafted if council has an interest to go forward.

Schlachter said it started a year or two ago with Bill Hopping. Then two young men came to him with the desire to form a young adult group. They talked about different ways to form an advisory group that would bring ideas to council and council could go to them for input. We hear from the older, retired crowd…….

Driscoll thought it was a great idea and going in the right direction. He questioned if there was an issue with this having an age requirement.

Kemp said it could be seen both ways.

Valdes said they do have an opportunity to provide input – everyone has the opportunity anytime. When we had board and commission interviews they could come and interview. He was hesitant to add another group – it will take staff time. He encouraged people to get involved but government doesn’t need to be the solution. There are other ways. He thought this was a group that wanted to be coddled in order to get involved. Attendance is dismal and they have better things to spend their time on.

Elrod liked the opportunity to get the broader community engaged – Tuesdays at 6:30 does not always work. They need to find a way to get more people involved and it goes beyond the 18 to 34 age group. She said they need to find a way to make engagement accessible but she was not in favor of this.

Fey supported Elrod’s comments and thought there was an element of age discrimination. Kemp said it would be permissible.

Fey said there are often great expectations of an advisory group. She went on line and looked at minutes of a similar group and they were concerned about the same things they talk about – affordable housing and transportation. Trying to address a special group could be a problem.

Driscoll said people want to be involved and it is not so much about them telling us how it will be but have we addressed their issues. He was still in support.

Cole said she did not support but does support more out reach. She has been invited to several youth organizations and there are opportunities to speak to students in government classes.

 Schlachter said he did not think it was coddling but proactive to set up a forum to listen to a group. Brinkman said there was a shortage of staff time – they are maxed out. She appreciated Schlachter’s response to the young men. We are seeing a demographic shift – the older people don’t live forever!

Even though there were four opposing such a group, Brinkman suggested that Schlachter talk to the movers and shakers and they have a council breakfast with them to hear what they want.

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