Feb 25 2013

StopWaste Proposal for Energy Council – Issues and Authority Unresolved

StopWaste offers revised language to  coax reluctant cities to participate

At its Wednesday, February 27, 2013 meeting, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (WMA) Board is expected to make a final decision on four changes to the Energy Council Joint Powers Authority (JPA) in the areas of:

  • voting structure (the issue of weighted voting)
  • liability and insurance,
  • withdrawal notice reduced to 6 months (from 1 year)
  • effective date (revised to April 12, 2013 (from   The approved version of the JPA would then be distributed to WMA member agencies (including Piedmont) with encouragement to all to join.

The current proposal for a “weighted” voting structure remains unchanged from a previous proposal voted down at the January WMA Board meeting.  The proposed withdrawal notice is reduced from one year to six months.  The revised effective date is proposed to be April 12, 2013.  The revised language on liability, voting structure, withdrawal and effective date is here.


The original structure of the Energy Council called for one vote for each City/member agency.  The revised structure would give one vote to most  members, except two votes each to unincorporated parts of Alameda County, Fremont and Hayward and three votes to Oakland.  If the voting power of the member cities is changed, Albany, Emeryville, Newark and Union City would have to seek approval for the revisions from their governing bodies since they had joined the stopwaste.org Energy Council in 2012 under the original voting power.  These four cities are currently the only members of the Energy Council.

Oakland indicated it would join the Energy Council only if its voting power is proportional to its population size compared to all other potential members.  Despite Oakland’s position, at the January 23, 2013 WMA Board meeting the motion to approve a revised voting structure was defeated by a vote of 9 – 4.  The “No” votes were cast by Don Biddle of Dublin, Pauline Cutter of San Leandro, Lorrin Ellis of Union City and Garrett Keating of Piedmont and five other board members (Alameda County, Albany, Castro Valley Sanitary District, Livermore, Newark and Pleasanton representatives) had left the meeting prior to the vote.  


The issue of liability was raised by Council Member Garrett Keating on behalf of the City of Piedmont at the January WMA Board meeting.  Richard Taylor, WMA Counsel, assured the Board that language can be added to the JPA and that good insurance could diminish the risk.

Responding to the draft Agreement with proposed modifications, Piedmont raised concerns of liability, voting power and the withdrawal notice period in a letter dated January 14, 2013 to the Alameda County Waste Management Authority Board indicating its preferences:

In a unanimous consensus, the Piedmont City Council indicated the following preferences that it would like the WMA Board to consider when the Board deliberates a final version of the Agreement during its meeting of January 23, 2013:

•  Piedmont strongly favors keeping Section 5b to read, “Vote. Each member shall have one vote;”

•  Piedmont requests that Section 11 be amended to read, “Any Agency may withdraw from the Agreement following written notice submitted to the Energy Council at least six months in advance of the effective date of the withdrawal….;” and

•  Piedmont requests that the last sentence in Section 1 be modified to include explicit language to indicate that in the event there is any outstanding debt, liability or financial obligation, said obligations shall be the responsibility of the WMA and/or StopWaste.Org and not the members of the Energy Council.” (Emphasis added.)


The Energy Council may amend its Joint Powers Agreement in the future by a two-thirds vote.  There is no 6 month or 1 year waiting period prior to the effective date of future amendments –  e.g. prior to imposing debt or other new obligations on members.  Actions taken during the 6 month waiting period could be binding on all members, including any withdrawing member.

The public is welcome to attend the WMA Board meeting:

Wednesday, February 27,  3pm

StopWaste.Org Offices       1537 Webster Street, Oakland

Leave a Comment