Oct 16 2018

OPINION: Support for Measures BB and CC.

The City Charter has not been revised in more than 30 years.  It is out of date and contains inconsistencies.  The City Council had several meetings over a two year period to consider changes to the Charter, and actively sought and considered citizen input.  For a detailed analysis of these measures, I recommend the Piedmont League of Voters website, at https://my.lwv.org/california/piedmont/lwvp-pros-cons-city-piedmont-measures-bb-and-cc.

I believe there are two “hot buttons” regarding Measure BB.  The first “hot button” concerns competitive bidding.  Measure BB would remove language that says Piedmont will follow state law on competitive bidding.  As a Charter City, Piedmont has the authority to set its own thresholds for competitive bidding.  By removing that language, Piedmont makes clear that it is exercising its Charter City authority.  It is my understanding that Piedmont does a full competitive bid for any projects exceeding $75,000, and has had trouble getting contractors to bid for low dollar projects.  In my opinion, a $75,000 threshold sufficiently balances the need to wisely spend public funds against the administrative burden on the City and bidders.  The second concerns how long a termed-out Council member would need to wait to run again for the Council.  Measure BB would change the four year waiting period, to an eight year waiting period.  While I don’t agree with this change, I still support Measure BB because this situation hardly ever arises, and I believe that the other changes in Measure BB are desirable and necessary.

Measure CC addresses personnel issues, and it clarifies ambiguous and outdated language in the City Charter.  If Measure CC passed, the City Council would be responsible for hiring all department heads and managing and firing the City Administrator and City Attorney.  The City Administrator would be responsible for managing and firing all City employees except the City Attorney. It is not unusual for a board of directors to hire a CEO of its organization, and to give the CEO the authority and responsibility for hiring, managing and firing all of the organization’s employees.  We cannot expect our City Council, a group of five volunteers, to manage the City’s department heads.  With these changes to the City Charter, we should expect that the City Administrator would confer with the Council in exercising his/her authority, and the Council holding the City Administrator responsible for how that authority was exercised.

Kathleen Quineville, Piedmont Resident

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