Mar 23 2014

New Chair of Public Safety Committee Chosen

– In a novel Piedmont proceeding, the City Council deliberated publicly as to who should be the chairperson of the now permanent Piedmont Public Safety Committee (PSC). –

The PSC resolution adopted by the Council on January 6, 2014 calls for the Council to make a selection of the chairperson. (See Council minutes )  The resolution is unusual because the chairpersons of other Piedmont commissions and committees are chosen by the group, rather than the City Council. Additionally, the term of the chairperson of the PSC is three years, rather than a typical one year term for chairpersons.

Acting City Attorney, Michelle Kenyon’s instructions on the long established sunshine law, the Brown Act, prohibited the Council from moving the committee and commission selections to a Closed Session.  The selection process was awkward, as the Council for years had become accustomed to discussing and choosing among the committee and commission candidates outside of public view in “Closed Sessions”.  (see PCA article) .

The PSC charge requires the chairperson to participate in the selection and interviewing of prospective new members of the Committee. As the interviews for the Committee are to be held on March 31,  the Council moved ahead with the selection of a new chairperson.

Sue Lin, current PSC member and applicant for the chairperson position, stated the current chairperson, Michael Gardner, completes his term at the end of March, leaving a question of the necessity to replace him prior to the interview and selection date on March 31.

The Council discussed the two candidates, Sue Lin and Lyman Shaffer, giving both high praise and exclaiming how fortunate it was to have two experienced and capable individuals interested in becoming chairperson of the PSC. There were no negative comments made about either candidate. Statements by the Council emphasized the need to further develop emergency preparedness and increase collaboration with the schools.

Council member Teddy King made a motion to appoint Lin as chairperson for which there was no second until Mayor Margaret Fujioka asked Counsel Kenyon if she could second the motion. Upon permission, Fujioka seconded the motion. She then called for the vote, which failed with Rood, McBain and Weiler voting no.  A second motion to approve Shaffer as chairperson passed with aye votes from Rood, McBain, Weiler, and King. Fujioka voted no to the Shaffer appointment.

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