Jul 14 2018

Council would hire, but could not fire.

Facing a strong Administrative staff proposal to diminish the Piedmont City Council’s authority and control, the Council appeared confused, lacking clarity or direction.  Council members questioned issues as basic as whether the Council or the City Administrator should hire and fire the City’s top managers – Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, etc.

The City Council had paid little attention to the City Charter until there was a desire to accumulate ever greater amounts of revenue in reserve, without clear and specific purposes.

Overriding the unlimited reserve issue became the Administrative staff desire to change how Piedmont is governed. 

The review and changes to the City Charter had been pushed by former and resigned mayor, Jeff Weiler, who wanted the City to not only have a permanent, potentially escalating parcel tax, but who wanted the City to garner and retain in the General Fund Reserves unlimited amounts of revenue.

The City Council asked the Administrative staff to look at the City Charter and propose changes.   The Council was eager to allow the staff to construct their proposals independent of Council originated ideas. Individual Council members were to privately, outside of Council meetings,  submit to the City Administrator Charter changes they wanted.

The Administrative staff came up with a monumental proposed change to Piedmont’s long-held system of governance. The Charter changes proposed will significantly reduce Piedmont’s City Council’s long-held authority and Council responsibility for City services.

City Administrator, Paul Benoit, proposed that the City Council should no longer appoint top Department Heads, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc., he, the City Administrator, should have complete hiring and firing authority.

The Council did not totally accept Benoit’s proposal and chose to continue their long-held practice of hiring key positions.  The Council however, relented on Benoit’s proposal to allow him, the City Administrator, to be the sole individuaauthorized to fire key staff members hired by the Council.

The Council, in deference to Benoit, who is well liked by the Council, was also willing to forfeit their right as a Council to direct the Police Chief, Fire Chief, etc.  The Charter revisions as proposed will require all Council direction to go through the City Administrator, even if the Administrator position is vacated or terminated.  If there is a conflict with the City Administrator and a Council hire, the only choice the Council will have is to fire the City Administrator.

Mayor Bob McBain wanted to totally relinquish to the City Administrator the Council’s hiring and firing authority, but this was not supported by other Council members.

The City Administrator proposed governance is a form of governance traditionally found in cities with directly elected mayors who have more executive authority than Piedmont’s largely ceremonial Council-selected mayor, rotating among  their members with limited powers as set out in the City Charter. 

Council questions regarding Charter language stating the Council has authority “to direct” their appointees led to further Council confusion.  Despite specific existing language in the City Charter stating Council members as individuals are not allowed to direct staff members, Benoit argued he did not want the Council as a whole to be able to direct staff members even during Council meetings or emergency situations.

Individual Council members have been known to direct staff without the knowledge of the Council as a whole perhaps encouraged by a City Administrator.  It can be easier and faster for an administrator to gain direction from one person, a Council member, the mayor, than from a majority of the Council as required by the City Charter. 

The City Council and the City Administration, including the City Attorney, in recent years have not been attentive to the intent or language in the City Charter.  Since Piedmont’s long-term attorney retired, a great amount of knowledge on the City Charter has apparently been lost or ignored.

In considering proposals for changing Piedmont’s City Charter, the City Council has held a number of poorly attended, fragmented public meetings.  No independent committee, as in previous years, was formed to carefully consider the complex and important City Charter despite a number of citizen requests. Because of various voids in the questionable proposals, it is obvious  the entire Charter was not carefully considered nor discussed leaving many questioning the process and the proposals.

Significant current issues were never considered during the Council Charter review process. 

Some examples are:

  • requirement for voters to make zoning changes
  • borrowing money for more than one year
  • Council officer vacancies
  • bid advertisements and notifications

The Council agenda for Monday night appears to acknowledge that the Council, City Administrator, and City Attorney have not upheld Piedmont’s City Charter. 

The Council agenda items for the Monday, July 16, 2018 meeting rebuffs the City Charter when it states “Conform to Modern Practice.”  No one would want the City Charter to perpetuate unlawful practices; however, “Modern Practices” infers and confirms non-compliance with Piedmont’s long successful and practical City Charter.  Prime examples of ignoring the Charter are the usurpation of Council authority, borrowing money, and negation of voter approval for zoning changes.

The Council decided to separate the governance issue from the remainder of the Charter revision proposals after sensing the potential opposition to turning over long-held Council authority to the City Administrator.  Piedmont voters will find little transparency in the attempt to change Piedmont governance as noted in the staff report below:

Amendments to the City Charter to Clarify the Reporting Structure for Officers of the City, Clarify the Departments Responsible for Maintenance of Park Lands and Recreational Facilities, and Make Other Amendments to Conform the Charter to Modern Practice 

 Council dropped notion of unlimited General Fund Reserves.

When Kathleen Quenneville, a local authority on civic governance, told the Council that the Charter proposal to eliminate the cap on General Fund Reserves would not be supported by voters, the Council promptly removed the proposal, as it is their desire to not initiate opposition to Council proposals since a prospective voter approved future facilities bond measure is being considered.  Concern was expressed by Council members wanting to keep voters positive about Council actions and proposals, leading to the unlimited General Fund Reserves being dropped, and the separation of City Administration governance from other proposals.

This article does not describe the many other proposals suggested by the Council, however urgency does not appear to be present.  Items continuing to be of concern are:

  • Inconsistencies between the School Board and Council elections – School Board members could seek re-election after sitting out for 4 years, whereas City Council members must sit out for 8 years, unknown in other communities
  • Extension of time to fill Council vacancies from 30 days to 60 days

The Charter change matter will be considered by the Council at 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 16, 2018 in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos.

Comments can be made to the City Council as below:

Robert McBain, Mayor rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 2nd Term Exp. 11/20
Teddy Gray King, Vice Mayor tking@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Jennifer Cavenaugh jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 1st Term Exp. 11/20
Tim Rood trood@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 239-7663 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Betsy Smegal Andersen bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 Unexpired Term Exp. 11/18

Below are the staff reports: 

07/16/18 – Consideration of the Following Actions Related to the Possible Amendment of the City Charter

a. Approval of a Resolution and Measure Proposing Amendments to the City Charter to Modify Term Limits for the City Council, Modify the Procedures for Filling of Vacancies in Elected Offices, and Make Other Amendments to Conform the Charter to Modern Practice

b. Approval of a Resolution and Measure Proposing Amendments to the City Charter to Clarify the Reporting Structure for Officers of the City, Clarify the Departments Responsible for Maintenance of Park Lands and Recreational Facilities, and Make Other Amendments to Conform the Charter to Modern Practice 

07/16/18 – Consideration of Options Regarding a Direct Argument and a Rebuttal Argument Regarding the Charter Amendment Measure on the November 6, 2018 Ballot

Jun 21 2018

PIEDMONT CITY COUNCIL TO HOST TOWN HALL MEETING ON POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO THE PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER

Monday, June 25, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers

Comments in this article are in response to the City’s public notice and were written by the Piedmont Civic Association aggregating some of the comments by Piedmonters knowledgeable and concerned about the proposed Piedmont City Charter changes. 

The City’s meeting notice was provided by Piedmont City Administrator Paul Benoit and  John Tulloch City Clerk /Assistant City Administrator, a recently created position,   

Town Hall Meeting – Monday, June 25

“The Piedmont City Council will hold a town hall meeting on Monday, June 25, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to receive public input on possible amendments to the City Charter, which may be placed before the voters at the City’s General Municipal Election in November 2018.”

“The discussion of possible Charter amendments began in June 2017 and Council has subsequently discussed the issue at meetings on February 5, 2018, March 5, 2018, April 30, 2018, and June 4, 2018.”

BIG CHANGES TO THE CITY CHARTER

The proposed City Charter changes were devised by the City Administrative staff and the Piedmont City Council to potentially be voted upon by the Piedmont electorate at the General Election in November 2018. For the proposed changes to take effect, Piedmont voters must approve the changes.   All portions of the Charter were not considered in the Charter review.  For instance, Piedmont’s method of borrowing money was not taken up, nor was a clarification on the controversial zoning language in the Charter.  Also, when a mayor recently resigned, the Council  arbitrarily created a new position outside of the Charter called an “Acting Mayor.”   These items and others were not addressed in the proposed changes.

A number or Piedmonters and the Piedmont League of Women Voters had asked the Council to involve the community in the City Charter changes, however all considerations were made at the Council level garnering little public participation and no input from City commissions, committees, or a special committee charged with assessing potential City Charter changes.

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

Administrative changes, although de-emphasized in the City’s  presentations on proposed Charter changes, represent the greatest alterations to Piedmont’s form of City Administrator government.  Piedmont has had the City Administrator form of government for generations, and most would agree Piedmont has done well during those many years under the City Administrator form of government. As will be read below, authority historically held by the City Council is being transferred to the City Administrator.

The proposals to change the City Charter would take authority from the City Council and transfer it to the City Administrator.

The Council would retain authority to hire Department Heads, such as the Police Chief, City Clerk, Fire Chief, Finance Director, but the Council could not fire their appointees.  The Department Head termination authority would be granted solely to the City Administrator, presenting a new and different complexity to Piedmont  governance.

The City Administrator in Piedmont, by the current Charter language, has the responsibility for the administration of the City – the day to day operations and administration of the City. The City Administrator reports to the Council on employee performance.  The current Charter language states the Council can direct top managers, however the Charter also makes it clear the Council members are not administrators and  as individuals cannot act to “direct” the managers or the City Administrator.

Taking the authority to direct Department Heads from the Council, as a whole, and bestowings the authority solely upon the City Administrator, is governance commonly considered a City Manager form of government with a directly elected mayor, which Piedmont does not have,.   In Piedmont, the Council appoints from their members an individual to be Piedmont’s Mayor.  Piedmont’s mayor has essentially the same authority as the other four Council members other than what is allowed by the Charter or granted by the Council.  In recent years, Council observers have noted more authority has been given by the City Administrator to mayors than the Charter allows without consideration by the  Council as a whole.

 UNLIMITED RESERVES 

The original idea for reviewing the City Charter arose at a Council meeting when it became apparent Piedmont revenues greatly exceeded the Annual Budget 25% limit in the General Fund Reserve. One or more Council members wanted to accumulate larger amounts of money in the General Fund Reserve.  The Charter limit on reserves was intended to stop Councils from excessively taxing Piedmont property owners.

Much of the increase in Piedmont revenues stems from the sale of property resulting in transfer taxes and a higher basis on Piedmont property taxes.  To retain the excess revenues  when the 25% General Fund Reserve limit had been met, the Council has directed the excess  revenue into various newly established reserve funds,  At the same time, the City Council has continued to levy the full voter approved property tax, plus an annual percentage increase regardless of the windfall tax revenues.  The practice of placing excess revenues into special reserve funds has been put into practice without changing the City Charter.

The following language in quotes is from the City notice followed by PCA comments:

“At its June 4th meeting, the City Council directed staff to schedule a town hall meeting in order to allow residents an additional opportunity to review the changes that have been discussed at previous Council meetings. This is an opportunity for residents to ask questions and express their opinions on the proposed Charter amendments prior to the Council placing a measure on the November ballot.”

Unlike past reviews of the City Charter, there has been no comprehensive look at the entire Charter nor an independent committee focused on the pros and cons of the proposed Charter changes.

Presumably, the Council does not want to put something on the ballot that is likely to be rejected by Piedmont voters.  Yet, the Town Hall Meeting comes after Council decisions have essentially been made regarding proposed changes to the City Charter. The Council must now decide if their proposals will be accepted by Piedmont voters and if it is timely to place the proposals before the voters.  Each time the Charter is placed on a ballot, it incurs cost for the City.

“Because the Charter is effectively the City of Piedmont’s constitution, the City Council wants to receive as much resident input as possible on the proposed amendments.”

The Town Hall meeting will not include a comprehensive discussion and exchange of ideas on the Charter changes – the pros and cons – for each public speaker is typically given only 3 minutes to address even this voluminous subject. Decisions were made by the City Council and staff on the proposals to be considered at the meeting.

Depending on citizen input on the proposals, the Council may or may not decide to place the changes on the November ballot.  The Council could defer action pending further consideration of unintended consequences and/or benefits to Piedmont. 

Some of the proposed amendments to the Charter are as follows: [The order of the City changes has been changed here to prioritize important issues first. The most significant proposed changes were previously placed by the City staff toward the end of their announcement, which might lead readers to assume the administrative changes are minor.] 

  • ” In Article 3 – Administration, several changes are proposed to clarify reporting structure for the Officers of the City (Department Heads). At the April 30th meeting, Council directed staff to clarify sections in this article to make clear that the City Council appoints Department Heads, but that they are directed by and serve at the pleasure of the City Administrator.”

This is one of the most important, if not the most important change being proposed to the City Charter. The above statement by the City hints at the split authority of the Council.  For example, the Council would appoint Department Heads, but the Council could not dismiss problem Department Heads, creating confusion and potential problems for the City Administrator, who would be the sole authority in dismissal, “serve at the pleasure of the City Administrator.”

Department Heads in Piedmont have always served at the pleasure of the City Council and could be directed by the Council as a whole, but not by individual Council members.  For example, the Council might direct the Police Chief to step up night patrols: the Council might direct the Finance Director to find ways to save the City money; the Council might direct the Recreation Director to develop more programs for senior citizens. The Department Heads were held accountable to the City Council with advice from the City Administrator.

In meeting identified needs of citizens, the change proposed totally eliminates the Council’s authority to direct Department Heads.  The Council authority would  be transferred to the City Administrator.

Piedmont, as a small city, has thrived under the City Administrator form of government; the City Manager form of government found in other, many larger, cities, with a directly elected mayor, has the potential for creating new problems regarding Council authority and responsiveness to citizens.

  • ” In Section 4.03, the limit on the General Fund Reserve of 25% is proposed for removal. In addition, an aspirational minimum for the General Fund Reserve of 15% of the General Fund operating budget is inserted.”

The General Fund Reserve limit of 25% originated from concern to not levy more taxes than was necessary to operate the City while providing an emergency reserve during an economic slump or great emergency.  The City Council and City staff in recent years have  diverted excess revenues from the significant property and transfer tax windfall into various fund reserves.  There is no language proposed to limit the Council’s ability to tax property owners.

  • ” In Section 4.11, bidding requirements are changed to remove a low threshold for costly formal bidding requirements, rather leaving it to the Council to set the thresholds for formal bidding by ordinance.”

Bidding requirements are one way to publicly open up the procurement of public services, consultants, contractors, and other City needs rather than continuing with current contractors on a long term basis without going through an open bidding process.  Most  cities and the state encourage open bidding to benefit taxpayers and the community at large.

  • “The Council also directed staff to prepare amendments to several other sections of the Charter to remove outdated provisions and modernize language.”

This part of the City Charter proposals presents many questions for it is largely unidentified.  What  provisions and what antiquated language?  Why not list the outdated provisions? New Department Head positions have been added with no general public notice.  Is Piedmont’s bureaucracy inadequate to serve our small community? Once new positions are added to the Charter, employment cost can be greater and more permanent.

  • ” A modification of City Council term limits to lengthen the period of time during which a former Councilmember is ineligible to run for office again from four to eight years after leaving office. (Section 2.03)”

The change listed above is of little impact for the City Council has only had two Council contenders seeking re-election after a 4 years hiatus. One contender was elected, the other was not.  Changing this in the Charter is of debatable value.

  •  “An amendment to the provision for filling of vacancies on the City Council to allow the Council sixty days to fill a vacancy. If the Council doesn’t act within those sixty days, a special election would be called to fill the vacancy. Under current provision, the Council has thirty days to make an appointment and if it doesn’t act, the Mayor can make an appointment. (Section 2.05(c))”

A thirty day period in which to fill a vacant Council seat is common for elective bodies.  Waiting 60 days to fill a vacant seat potentially leaves the Council vulnerable to inaction on important civic issues when there are only four members of the Council and a split vote occurs.  There has never been a time when the Council could not fill a vacant seat during the mandated thirty day period.

  • ” A requirement that the Council hold two regular meetings per month is eliminated. The proposed language would require the City Council to hold meetings on a regular basis. (Section 2.07 (a))\”

Councils throughout the area hold two or more regular Council meetings per month. Language could be proposed to accommodate changes in schedules. 

  • ” The proposed amendments also modernize the prohibition against employment discrimination to include all classes protected under U.S. and state law. (Section 5.02)”

Prohibition against employment discrimination is the law and does not require a Charter change.  Including the proposed language in the Charter will make no change to how Piedmont handles employment discrimination because Piedmont honorably and consistently follows state and federal laws barring discrimination.

  • ” The provision for filling vacancies on the Board of Education is changed to match the proposed amendments for the City Council, as described above for Section 2.05 (c). Staff consulted with the Piedmont Unified School District which agreed that this amendment, along with one other technical amendment to Article 7 should be included in the proposed amendments.”

The Board of Education must take a position on the City Charter changes by resolution. The details of the proposed changes are not noted here.

  • “A marked up version of the Charter containing each of the proposed amendments is available on the City’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.   Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.”

The marked up version has been difficult to follow, making the sweeping changes difficult for the public to understand.

  • “Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.
  • The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.For further information, contact Assistant City Administrator/ City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.”

The full staff report for the meeting can be accessed > HERE.

COMMENTS MAY BE SENT TO THE COUNCIL MEMBERS AS BELOW:

Robert McBain, Mayor rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 2nd Term Exp. 11/20
Teddy Gray King, Vice Mayor tking@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Jennifer Cavenaugh jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 1st Term Exp. 11/20
Tim Rood trood@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 239-7663 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Betsy Smegal Andersen bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3048 Unexpired Term Exp. 11/18
Jun 10 2018

Piedmont’s “new waste disposal contract” with Republic Services relies heavily on the company’s ability to properly recycle garden cuttings, kitchen waste, paper, plastics, glass, etc.  Questions have arisen as to whether Piedmont’s waste is actually being recycled or is merely headed to a landfill site?

Republic Services apparently was sending recycling to China. Recently China has decided to stop accepting it and our “recycling” will end up in landfill. At premium prices!

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/09/568797388/recycling-chaos-in-u-s-as-china-bans-foreign-waste

“Western states, which have relied the most on Chinese recycling plants, have been hit especially hard. In some areas — like Eugene, Oregon, and parts of Idaho, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii — local officials and garbage haulers will no longer accept certain items for recycling, in some cases refusing most plastics, glass and certain types of paper. Instead, they say, customers should throw these items in the trash.”

The Piedmont Civic Association made an inquiry to Piedmont’s provider, Republic Services in Richmond, asking about the destination of Piedmont’s recyclable waste.  There has been no response.  Our email, which was copied to the City Council, is below:

~~~~~~~

PCA

PIEDMONT CIVIC ASSOCIATION

June 1. 2018

——Media Inquiry—–

Republic Services

3260 Blume Drive, Suite 100

Richmond, CA 94806

piedmont@repsrv.com

Manager: Richmond, California, Republic Services

RE: Actual disposition of Piedmont, CA recyclable waste

Recently, the Piedmont Civic Association was informed, as validated by the New York Times on May 29, 2018, that much of Republic’s collected recyclable waste is going to landfills rather than going to reuse.

We are asking what is the disposition of Piedmont recyclables including glass, paper, plastic, etc.

The residents of Piedmont have exceeded their goals set for recycling waste materials and keeping reusable materials out of the landfills.

Please promptly reply to our inquiry so we may include your response in the forthcoming article on our well established website:

www.piedmontcivic.org

Thank you,

PCA Editors

editors@piedmontcivic.org

 

Jun 10 2018

Flawed process for changing the Piedmont City Charter has produced new issues and unknown rationale.  Concerns have focused on such proposals as: Unlimited reserve funds, changes to management of employees, elimination of Council bimonthly meetings, elimination of posted notices, and questionable designations of City officers. – 

The following letter was sent to the Piedmont City Council –

TO: City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov
RE: Comments Regarding Proposed Changes to City Charter June 3, 2018

Dear City Council:

I am writing to oppose the proposal to amend the City Charter, for two reasons: 1) process, and 2) substance.

PROCESS

I respectfully submit that the process is flawed and should be revisited. Here are some thoughts in that connection:

First, what is the problem we are trying to solve? Although the June 4, 2018 Staff Report states that the City Council has been discussing changes to the Charter since June 2017, it does not contain reasons for the proposed changes. Without a “statement of the problem,” how does the Council know what changes need to be made? And if we make changes to solve undefined problems, might the proposed changes create unintended consequences?

Second, what are the pros and cons of the proposed solutions to the problem? The Staff Report does not provide pros and cons, or alternative solutions to address perceived problems with the current Charter.

Third, shouldn’t workshops be held to determine the level of public support for the changes before they are submitted to Piedmont citizens for a vote? Deciding to put the Charter changes on the ballot without adequate public input is a backwards process.

SUBSTANCE

In addition to having serious concerns with the process the Council is following in this regard, I also have some substantive issues and questions:

Section 2.03. Because the Staff Report does not indicate what problem this “out of office” change attempts to solve, it’s not clear that this change is needed. If there is indeed a problem to be solved, and there’s public support for such change, a corresponding change should be made in Section 7.02 concerning the School Board.

Section 2.07 would delete the current requirement that the Council meet at least twice a month, and instead would only require that the Council meet “regularly.” This is totally inadequate. While I can understand that a twice monthly meeting requirement might be out of step with what is currently considered good governance and might make it difficult for some otherwise qualified candidates to serve on the Council, this change goes too far and could allow meetings only every other month, or quarterly. At a minimum, this section should provide for regular monthly meetings.

Section 2.08 states how the Mayor is selected. Should we consider having the Mayor be elected by the voters, as in many other communities?

Section 2.12(D) would eliminate the requirement to post ordinances on bulletin boards, in favor of using the City website. To ensure that citizens know they should look on the website for ordinances, I suggest that the City also be required to post a notice describing the ordinance (if not including the entire ordinance) in one or more newspapers of general circulation.

Article III’s changes are problematic. First, I’m not sure it is a good idea to give the City Administrator so much power without Piedmont having a citizen-elected Mayor to partner with the City Administrator. If public input indicates support for giving the City Administrator the power to manage and dismiss all City officers, but having the Council keep the authority to eliminate or consolidate these officer positions, then this Article should be overhauled completely (for instance, deleting from the Charter the listing of City officers, since if the Charter states that the City “shall” have certain officers, it’s unclear that the Council could eliminate such positions without an amendment to the Charter).

Section 4.03 proposes to eliminate the 25% ceiling on the General Fund Reserve. This proposal is outrageous. Piedmont’s taxes are much higher than those in comparable cities. Many (those on fixed incomes, or young couples, for instance) struggle to afford the current rates. While keeping adequate reserves is important, there’s been no case made by Staff or the Council that the City needs more than 25% in reserves. The cap should stay.

Section 4.10 governs franchises. It’s unclear what this section is intended to cover. Is this a section that should be considered for updating or deletion?

Section 4.11 proposes to eliminate the requirement that all public projects be competitively bid. This is unacceptable. A requirement to competitively bid ensures that public funds are spent wisely. Competitive bidding should be the rule, and deleting this language opens the door to wasting public funds.

Article V. If the Charter is being examined fully, the Council might consider whether most of the provisions of Article V belong in the Charter, or could instead be moved to an ordinance. While the updating of Section 5.02 is admirable, the law keeps changing. To eliminate the need to constantly update the Charter, it might be easier to simply say that the City will not discriminate on any prohibited basis.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Quenneville, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
Jun 2 2018

Piedmont City Council to Consider Proposed Charter Changes June 4, 2018, 7:30 p.m. City Hall:

If the City Administrator’s requests to change the City Charter are approved, the City Council could take a back seat in Piedmont’s governance.

Piedmont City Administrator Paul Benoit proposed eliminating the long-time appointment power of the City Council in the City Charter. 

The City Council has always appointed and hired key administrative positions – Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Clerk, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc. However, the Council told Benoit on April 30, 2018 they wanted to retain the Council’s hiring authority per the City Charter.  Yet Benoit apparently convinced the Council that he, the City Administrator, should be the sole individual authorized to fire or terminate key managers, taking authority away from the Council in an unusual change to Council authority.

Readers will find the administrative changes repeatedly diminish the authority of the Council forfeiting their authority to the City Administrator.

The form of government proposed by Benoit is usually termed a City Manager form of government joined by a strong mayor, which Piedmont does not elect.  Oakland has a City Manager form of government as does Alameda and Astoria, Oregon, where Benoit was employed for many years prior to coming to Piedmont. Each of these cities have a separately elected Mayor.  Piedmont’s mayor is elected from within the Council  by the five Council members. 

Many are familiar with Oakland struggles, but perhaps less familiar with Alameda’s recent troubles when the Council terminated their City Manager over a hiring situation. Piedmont has not had such disruption and the City Council has worked collaboratively when selecting officers such as the Fire Chief, Police Chief, and others.  It has been stated that it is better to have 5 members of the Council selecting  the City officers rather than one unelected person – the City Administrator – making the selections and terminations.

Despite pleas for an independent committee to study and evaluate proposed changes to the Piedmont City Charter, none was formed by the City Council.  The Administration driven proposals have moved forward following a Council Study Session.  

This PCA article points out some of the critical issues, but as with any City Charter the devil is in the details, of which there are many.  The Council, apparently, will be presenting forums after they decide what should be placed on a Piedmont  November 2018 election ballot to seek required ratification

~~~~~~~~~~~

Below are various changes noted by City staff as substantive.  Readers will note in the full draft linked below there are many other important issues.

   The pros and cons of the changes have not been presented by staff.

Important administrative changes of the Charter were listed last in the staff report linked below. The order has been changed here. 

  • ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROVERSY: Council would hire top managers, but could not fire them. In Article 3 – Administration – Council directed staff to clarify sections in this article to make clear that the City Council appoints Department Heads, but that they will be directed by and serve at the pleasure of the City Administrator.
  • The Council acted against the recommendation of the City Administrator and decided to retain their long held ability to select and appoint (hire) Department Heads per the current Charter requirement appointments for Department Heads, while letting the City Administrator be the only individual who fire the Department heads.
  •   ISSUE: The Council relinquishment of their ability to also terminate (fire) Department Heads –  the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, City Clerk, etc. presents potential new problems for the City Council authority.
  • New positions have been added to the list of permanent City of Piedmont positions.  The number of  Department Head employeeswill be permanently placed in the City Charter potentially making it more difficult to consolidate or eliminate positions. 
  •  ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLITICAL;  NO LIMIT ON AMOUNT OF RESERVE FUNDS. In Section 4.03, the limit on the General Fund Reserve of 25% is proposed for removal. In addition, an aspirational minimum for the General Fund Reserve of 15% of the General Fund operating budget is inserted.
  • Elimination of the amount of money the City can place in reserve, while continuing to tax property owners has been one of  the more noticed proposed changes to the City Charter.  The original goal of limiting reserves was to control taxation without a purpose. In recent years, the Council and Administration has circumvented the limitation by building up reserves in numerous specials funds presenting a bountiful amount of money stored by the millions for special purposes.   The change appears arbitrary. 
  • ADMINISTRATIVE AND POLITICAL: BIDDING and PURCHASING:  In Section 4.11, bidding requirements are changed to remove a low threshold for costly formal bidding requirements, rather leaving it to the Council to set the thresholds for formal bidding by ordinance.
  • Many City service providers are currently not obtained through a formal bidding process. Regardless of cost to the City, old friends, contractors,  and work companions often continue for years without ever going through a formal procurement process.  Some suggest Piedmont has not always performed due diligence with the millions of dollars spent for outside services and have suggested stronger language rather than more relaxed requirements. Piedmont adopted a stronger procurement, liability and project policy led by the League of Women Voters of Piedmont.  There has been no comment on the impact of the proposed Charter change to the policy. 
  •  
  •  The proposed amendments also modernize the prohibition against employment discrimination to include all classes protected under U.S. and state law. (Section 5.02)  This makes Piedmont Charter language compliant with U.S. and state law without impacting Piedmont’s current compliant practices.
  • The provision for filling vacancies on the Board of Education is changed to match the proposed amendments for the City Council, as described above for Section 2.05 (c). Staff consulted with the Piedmont Unified School District which agreed that this amendment, along with one other technical amendment to Article 7 should be included in the proposed amendments. There is no validation provide for the Board of Education position on the Charter change. 

POLITICAL: LIMITING SERVICE BY FORMER COUNCIL MEMBERS.  The proposal would increase the period of time during which a former Councilmember is ineligible to run for office from 4 to 8 years after leaving office.

 Only two Council members have in the past 3 decades attempted to be re-elected following 4 years of ineligibility.  One former Councilmember was not re-elected, another was elected, but recently resigned over a scandal.  A local newspaper’s publicity for those two candidates influenced the election more than the candidates’ efforts.

POLITICAL: HOW LONG SHOULD THE COUNCIL HAVE TO FILL A COUNCIL VACANCY.   An amendment to the provision for filling of vacancies on the City Council would be extended to allow the Council 60 days rather than just 30 days to fill a vacancy.

 Recent history has proven the Council has been able to readily fill numerous Council vacancies within the allotted 30 day time period. The intention of the Charter was to expeditiously fill a vacancy for a full Council composition of 5 members rather than unnecessarily remain at 4 or fewer members. 

  • CONTROVERSIAL: WHEN TO HOLD COUNCIL MEETINGS A requirement that the Council hold two regular meetings per month is eliminated. The proposed language would require the City Council to hold meetings on a regular basis.

    Change could be arbitrary. 

    Residents often plan their public participation schedules around knowing when the Council will meet  – the first and third Mondays of each month. With recent changes to the Zoning Code, not knowing when the Council will next meet to consider a matter opens up conflicting issues. From high school students to public participants, having regularly scheduled meetings, a standard for most cities,  is beneficial.  If three (the required amount) Council members cannot attend a regularly scheduled  meeting, then the meeting would fall to the next day or week. Going on the City Council is known to require certain meetings per month thus allowing the Council and public set dates for planning purposes. Scheduling of matters can be crucial to the consideration of many issues and the orderly functioning of government.  Reducing the frequency of Council meetings puts them at a disadvantage in providing the leadership the citizenry expects of their elected officials.

Amendments are also proposed to a number of other sections of the Charter to remove stated outdated provisions and modernize language. Click to read a marked up version of the Charter containing each of the proposed Charter amendments.

READ the full STAFF REPORT > HERE.

Citizens are invited and encouraged to comment at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.

For further information, contact Assistant City Administrator/ City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

May 23 2018

PUBLIC NOTICE –

CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER A RESOLUTION DECLARING PIEDMONT A SANCTUARY CITY

At its regular meeting on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, the Piedmont City Council will consider a resolution declaring the City of Piedmont as a sanctuary city and affirming Piedmont’s long-standing practice of providing service regardless of immigration status.

The City Council has taken several actions over the past two years to quell the fear and anxiety felt by the community resulting from possible changes to federal immigration laws and enforcement policies. On November 21, 2016, the City Council and the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education jointly committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through City and District policies, programming, and leadership. On March 6, 2017, the City Council affirmed the action of the Alameda County Mayor’s Conference which had passed a resolution 1) Condemning violence and hate speech; 2) Expressing solidarity with all those targeted for their ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability, or nationality; and 3) Expressing support of immigrants and refugees. In taking this action, the City Council unanimously stated its support for the recitals and declarations made in that resolution.

SB 54, the California Values Act, which was signed into law by the Governor on October 15, 2017, prohibits law enforcement from acting as agents of federal immigration authorities. Since 2014, the policies and procedures of the Piedmont Police Department have prohibited police officers from contacting, detaining, or arresting someone based solely on the suspicion that an individual is an undocumented immigrant.

The Council is considering this action after receiving requests from residents to do so at several City Council meetings.

The text of the draft resolution is below and also available on the City’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the Piedmont City Council at > citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site > www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.

For further information, contact City Administrator Paul Benoit via email at > pbenoit@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

  Posted: May 23, 2018

The Resolution to be considered by the Council:

RESOLUTION _______
A RESOLUTION DECLARING THE CITY OF PIEDMONT AS A SANCTUARY CITY

WHEREAS, the City of Piedmont is a community that celebrates diversity and prides itself on being a place which welcomes persons and families of all backgrounds and nationalities; and

WHEREAS, the City of Piedmont is committed to recognizing the dignity and civil rights of all of its community members, including the right of all community members to live, work, and study in a city that does not subject them to prejudicial treatment or discrimination; and

WHEREAS, members and friends of immigrant communities across the country, including members of our community, may be experiencing fear or anxiety resulting from potential changes to federal immigration laws and enforcement policies; and

WHEREAS, on November 21, 2016, the City Council and the Board of Education jointly committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through City and District policies, programming, and leadership; and

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2017, the City Council affirmed the action of the Alameda County Mayors’ Conference in passing Resolution 01-17, entitled, “A RESOLUTION OF THE ALAMEDA COUNTY MAYORS’ CONFERENCE CONDEMNING VIOLENCE AND HATE SPEECH, EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THOSE TARGETED FOR THEIR ETHNICITY, RACE, RELIGION, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER, ABILITY OR NATIONAL ORIGIN AND IN SUPPORT OF IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES” and unanimously stated its support for the recitals and declarations made in the resolution; and

WHEREAS, on October 5, 2017, the Governor signed Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act, which prevents state and local law enforcement agencies from acting as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, instead reaffirming their focus on community policing; and

WHEREAS, since 2014, the Piedmont Police Department’s policies and procedures have prohibited police officers from contacting, detaining, or arresting someone based solely on the suspicion that an individual is an undocumented immigrant; and

WHEREAS, the Piedmont Police Department affirms that the enforcement of immigration violations by local police erodes and damages the public trust that is so vital to maintaining public safety for all; and

WHEREAS, the City Council desires to continue to demonstrate its commitment to all of our community members by declaring that the City of Piedmont is a Sanctuary City;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Piedmont does hereby resolve as follows:

SECTION 1. The City of Piedmont hereby reaffirms its ongoing commitment to protect the rights of all people in our community by declaring that the City of Piedmont is a Sanctuary City.

SECTION 2. City employees will serve all residents, and city services will be accessible to all residents regardless of immigration status.

SECTION 3. The City of Piedmont recommits to pursuit of a policy agenda that affirms civil and human rights, promotes civic engagement, and ensures that those targeted on the basis of race, religion or immigration status can turn to government without fear of recrimination; and we reaffirm the value of a diverse society, the beauty of a community composed of myriad cultures, and the right of every person to live freely and without fear and discrimination in our community.

SECTION 4. City of Piedmont officials, employees and agents shall not inquire into the immigration or citizenship status of an individual, except where the inquiry relates to a legitimate law enforcement purpose that is unrelated to the enforcement of a civil immigration law.

SECTION 5. The City of Piedmont will continue to uphold the prohibitions placed upon it regarding information sharing with federal immigration authorities by SB 54.

SECTION 6. The City of Piedmont strongly condemns any and all statements that promote or provoke hate, xenophobia, intolerance or racism against any person or persons.

SECTION 7. The City of Piedmont understands and accepts its obligation to comply with federal law. Nothing in City of Piedmont policies is intended to violate 8 U.S. C. Section 1373 and 8 U.S. C. Section 1644.

SECTION 8. The City of Piedmont will continue to review its policies to ensure that they reflect Piedmont’s status as a Sanctuary City, as well as compliance with the United States and California Constitutions, and the mandates of federal and state law. Such review may include the possibility of revision to other City policies such that they comply with the spirit and intent of this Resolution.

[END OF RESOLUTION]

May 15 2018

All Piedmont residential electric service accounts are to be enrolled in alternative service plans depending on Council action Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m.

The City Council will consider enrolling all residential electric service accounts in Piedmont into either the Brilliant 100 Service Plan or the 100% Renewable Service Plan offered by East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) during its regular meeting on May 21, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. Doing so will be an important step in achieving the City’s climate action plan goals. Residents are encouraged to attend.

During its May 7th meeting, City Council received an informational report (http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-05-07/EBCEupdate.pdf) delineating the three service plans that (EBCE) is offering to its customers. Formed in 2017, EBCE is the community choice aggregate for participating jurisdictions throughout Alameda County. Electrical customers in these jurisdictions, including Piedmont, will receive cleaner, greener electricity, as well as local control over their energy supply through EBCE. Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) will still deliver the electricity, maintain the lines, and handle billing.

Both the Brilliant 100 and the 100% Renewable Energy service plans are completely carbon-free and will help Piedmont reach a goal in the recently passed Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2.0 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Should, the Council select it, the 100% Renewable Energy service plan would fulfill another goal of the CAP, which calls for 100% renewable energy as the default enrollment service plan for Piedmont residents.

EBCE has asked jurisdictions that wish to opt in their residential accounts to a service plan other than Bright Choice to make this decision by June 6th, 2018. If jurisdictions take no action, all residential electrical accounts will be automatically be enrolled in the Bright Choice service plan (85% carbon- free).

Regardless of the Council’s decision regarding the default, Piedmont residents and businesses will still have the option to enroll in any of the three EBCE service plans or to continue purchasing their electricity from PG&E by making that choice before or any time after the November launch of EBCE’s service.

Residents currently enrolled in PG&E’s assistance programs such as the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE), Medical Baseline, and the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) program will retain the same discounts when receiving EBCE service. Also, Piedmonters with on-site solar energy systems can be enrolled in any of EBCE’s three service plans starting in 2019. These customers will be enrolled in the month of or the month after they receive their 2019 annual True-Up Statement from PG&E. In regards to residential customers with rooftop solar energy systems, EBCE has indicated that at a minimum it will match the net energy metering offering provided by PG&E.

The agenda report for this item can be read HERE. 

Public testimony is invited and encouraged during the May 21st meeting. Written comments may be submitted in advance of the meeting to the City Clerk’s Office at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, the City’s government TV station, and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video.

For more information on EBCE, please visit EBCE’s web site at https://ebce.org/, or contact Annie Henderson, Vice President of Marketing and Account Services for EBCE at ahenderson@ebce.org.

May 13 2018
I don’t normally do this, but I’m writing to urge you this week to help support my friend Jeff Bleich, who is running for Lt. Governor in California.
I have known Jeff for two decades and he’s the real deal in every respect. After serving President Obama as Special Counsel in the White House, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, and Chair of the Fulbright Board, and also serving as Chair of the Cal State system, President of the State Bar, leading a major firm, and fighting Ted Cruz and the NRA in Court, he’s taking all of that experience and running for Lt. Governor.
Jeff takes no special interest or SuperPAC support and is running for the right reasons and in the right way. He’s been endorsed by every paper that has weighed in. The Sierra Club calls him “hands down, the best candidate for Lt. Governor of California,” and next generation leaders like Adam Schiff, Ro Khanna, and Ted Lieu have all lined up behind Jeff.
This week is the key week for him to raise money to get his message out before election day. If we want a government with these sorts of leaders, we need to support them when they come along. So please vote for him AND to help ensure his victory, please consider donating to his campaign at: www.jeffbleich.com/donate  You can give up to $7,300.
I can assure you he’s worth investing in. This is how we make democracy work again. Please consider donating today.
                                   Julie Reichle, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
May 5 2018

2018-19 School Support Tax Hearing May 9, 7:25 PM

On Wednesday, May 9 following a 6 p.m. Closed Session, the School Board’s Regular Session will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall 120 Vista Avenue. The public is invited to attend.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website under videos.   AGENDA

At approximately 7:25 pm the School Board will conduct a Public Hearing on the proposed levy of the School Support Tax, Measure A for 2018-19.

The Board will discuss and receive public input regarding the proposed levy of the school support tax for 2018-19. This is the first of two public hearings. The Board will take action on any levy after the second public hearing. The public is invited to provide comment at the Board meeting or prior to the meeting by email to the Board of Education at spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

A. Support Tax Subcommittee Report
B. MYP General Fund

 – The Board is requested to approve the following revised Board Policies and Administrative Regulations: 

Attachments:

A.BP-AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedure

B.BP 1313 – Civility and Protections from Inappropriate Behavior

C.BP-AR 3515 School Safety – Campus Security

D.BP-AR 4030 – Non Discrimination in Employment

E.BP-AR 4119.11 – Sexual Harassment – Employee Version

F.BP -E 4119.21 Professional Standards

G.BP 4158 – Employee Security

H.BP 5131 – Conduct

I.BP 5131.2 – Bullying

J.BP-AR 5141.4 – Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Procedures

K.BP-AR 5144.l – Suspension and Expulsion Due Process

L.AR 5144.2 Suspension and Expulsion Due Process – Students with Disabilities

M.BP-AR 5145.3 – Non-Discrimination -Harassment

N.BP-AR 5145.7 – Sexual Harassment

O.BP 5145.9 – Hate Motivated Behavior

P.BP-AR 6142.12 Healthy Relationships/Sexual Violence Prevention

  VIII.A. District Reorganization

Background – District Reorganization

 

Superintendent Booker:
With the 2017-18 school year coming to a close, PUSD is losing three incredible administrators who have served students, teachers and staff, and families for many years. The contributions of these fine administrators are far-reaching.

 Mr. Michael Brady will enjoy a well-deserved retirement. He has served the District for the past 15 years in a variety of roles: MHS Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Director of Facilities, Adult Education Director, Director of Alternative Education (including oversight of the Wellness Center), H1 Bond Program Manager, and most recently supporting Special Education. He will be dearly missed. His focus on students and the overall operations of the district is unparalleled.

 Ms. Julie Valdez will take a yearlong leave of absence. She has served the District for the past 11 years as both the Beach Elementary School Principal and the Director of Special Education. She has been an integral member of the administrative team, providing extensive insight into the needs of elementary students and leading a complex and demanding SPED program. Her compassion and empathy for students will be hard to replace for 2018-2019.

 Ms. Song Chin-Bendib will begin the 2018-19 school year as the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services in the Pacific Grove Unified School District. She has served the District for the past 4 years as both the Chief Business Official and the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. She has been incredible in keeping our finances in order during a tumultuous time in state funding. I’m appreciative of the systems she introduced and the keen oversight of our budget and operations.

Following any staff change there is a period of transition and, given the depth of experience and range of responsibilities of these three individuals, this transition will be especially challenging. Nonetheless, the District is working to ensure that these changes are facilitated as smoothly as possible.

See entire agenda  HERE.

Editors Note: The Piedmont Unified School District’s  online agenda format requires readers to download staff reports prior to reading them, which is different from PCA’s usual method of providing staff reports to readers. 

Any concerns or questions about the agenda can be sent to the Piedmont Board of Education at spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

Apr 27 2018

What Charter revisions might the Council decide should be considered for the November ballot ?

PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER: COMPLEX AND IMPORTANT TO PIEDMONT GOVERNANCE

The Piedmont City Charter, essentially Piedmont’s Constitution, determines Council and School Board terms, qualifications for office, budgets, authority of the Council, selection of City officers, bonding requirements, and more.  The City Charter is a large and comprehensive law governing Piedmont. 

One proposed revision to be considered would reduce Council authority and transform Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government into an approximation of a City Manager form of government.

A change for taxpayers could be the elimination of any limit on the excess funds the City holds in its coffers while continuing to gather taxes.

Consideration of City Charter changes appears to limit public discussion and comment at the Monday, April 30, 6:30 p.m. Special Council meeting.  The Agenda item states:

Consideration of Possible Direction to Staff Regarding Amendments to the City Charter – Provide direction to staff on which, if any, of the proposed Charter amendments merit placement on a ballot for consideration by Piedmont voters. 

There will be some opportunity for speakers at the April 30 meeting.  Written comments can also be submitted to the City Council.   The manner in which the City Council plans to deliberate and engage Piedmont citizens in the process for potential changes has not been announced. The Council may plan future study sessions with the public and School Board prior to making a decision on what Charter changes, if any, should be on the November 2018 General Election ballot.

VOTERS MUST APPROVE ANY CHANGES TO THE PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER.

CITY  ADMINISTRATOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT: In largely changing Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government to be similar to a City Manager form of government forfeits the Council’s right to select and terminate executive level officers: the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Engineer, Finance Director, Recreation Director, Public Works Director,  City Clerk, etc. 

The Council’s selection and termination authority would be limited the City Administrator and City Attorney. Other cities, might have a “strong” directly elected mayor, as in Oakland, who has broad authority to select the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Manager, etc. The Piedmont City Council has always chosen and appointed Piedmont’s Police Chief, Fire Chief and other City other officers as prescribed in the City Charter. 

Some have suggested relinquishing key hiring decisions solely to one person, the City Administrator, removes too much authority from the Council and could present new issues.

In recent years, City observers have noticed an erosion of Council control, participation, and authority.  Examples include: no Councilmembers on interview committees for their appointments, expenditures of funds unauthorized by the Council, endorsement letters produced without Council action, support or co-sponsoring of events without Council action, leasing of public property without due diligence and information provided to the Council, and selection of meetings to be broadcast to the public.

At the April 30th special meeting, the Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report  available on the city’s website.  The staff report is linked below. 

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-02-05/charteramendment.pdf)

The Council at the April 30 meeting will discuss whether any Charter changes should move forward and determine the process for further consideration.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

Citizens are invited to attend this meeting and express their opinions. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/.

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

City produced BACKGROUND statement below;

At its meeting of June 19, 2017 the Council discussed the City Charter provision limiting the General Fund Reserve to no more than 25% of the budget and directed staff to return to Council with a report reviewing the rationale and possible options for amending the Charter to modify the 25% limit. As part of that discussion, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator.

In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. All of the suggestions were compiled and used to create the attached “Track Changes” document for consideration by the City Council.

Note that per section 9.07 of the Charter, all proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. State law (Elections Code § 1415) further clarifies that if the proposed changes to a Charter “alter any procedural or substantive protection, right, benefit or employment status of any local government employee,” then the amendment must be presented at a statewide general election. This means that the amendments proposed to Article III would require consideration at a statewide general election. The following is a briefing of the suggested Charter revisions, grouped by article and section. Section numbers listed are as they currently exist in the Charter.

Some of the Charter sections proposed for consideration have yet to be fully described or are in a format not easily displayed for readers.

Staff information:

Article II – City Council
SECTION 2.03 TERM OF OFFICE

A question was raised as to whether Piedmont should amend the existing term limits provided for in the Charter. Currently, the Charter limits Councilmembers (and by extension Board of Education Members) to serving two consecutive terms. The current provision, however, does not prohibit a Councilmember who has served two consecutive terms from running again after a full term (four years) has elapsed. The question for Council consideration is whether you want to impose stricter term limits than currently exist.

An option for Council consideration would be to limit Councilmembers to serving two full terms in office. Should Council wish to consider this option, Section 2.03 would need to be revised as follows:

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office again. until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

Should the Council wish to pursue this option, it is recommended that a revision to the term limits of the Board of Education be changed as well, for reasons expressed in the discussion of proposed revisions to Article VII, below.

  •  SECTION 2.05 (C) FILIING OF VACANCIES
    This subsection dictates how vacancies on the City Council are to be filled. Currently, this subsection provides that the Council shall fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty days of a vacancy occurring. If the Council doesn’t act within those thirty days the vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. As the Council has experienced in each of the previous two years, the thirty day window is very tight and the possibility of a Mayor being forced to make a unilateral appointment without Council input is a strong possibility. In addition, as currently written, this subsection precludes the possibility of a special election to fill an empty Council seat which may be a possibility that the Council does not want to preclude.To address the above noted issues, it has been suggested that the timeframe for Council appointment be extended to sixty days and, should the Council not fill a vacancy within the allotted period, the vacancy shall be filled by special election. This would more closely mirror existing State law Election Code regulations
  •  SECTION 2.07(A) – MEETINGS
    This subsection requires that the Council meet twice in every month. The suggested revision would delete the requirement that two meetings per month occur, while retaining a requirement that it meet regularly. As currently provided in this subsection, it would be the Council’s prerogative to set its regular meeting schedule by resolution or ordinance.
  •  SECTION 2.07(C) – VOTING
    A provision of this subsection as written allows fewer than a quorum of Councilmembers to “compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council”. This portion of the subsection is viewed as archaic, unnecessary, and difficult to implement. Accordingly, it is proposed to be deleted.
  • SECTION 2.08 MAYOR
    This section currently does several things, including requiring that a Mayor and Vice- Mayor be elected by the Council after each general municipal election as well as noting that the Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the Council.Questions were raised as to whether it would be beneficial to clarify the process. The provision, as currently worded, provides significant flexibility to the Council. The City Attorney pointed out that this section does not prohibit the Council from electing officers annually or, for that matter, removing officers at will. The requirement that the Council appoint members following each general municipal election simply requires that election of officers happen at a minimum after each general election. This would not preclude the Council from electing officers annually but if Council would like to impose this requirement, this provision should be clarified. The Council should give direction to staff as to whether it feels that amendments to this section are warranted.
  •  SECTION 2.12 – ORDINANCES IN GENERAL
    A technical revision is proposed to subsection A to conform the enacting clause of ordinances to modern practice.

    A revision is proposed to subsection (D) to change the location of posting of ordinances from the official city bulletin board to the City’s web site. This proposed revision reflects modern practice and would provide for broader and more convenient access to the public.

  •  SECTION 2.15(A) AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING; CODIFICATION; PRINTING
  •  This subsection requires that all ordinances and resolutions be recorded in an indexed book kept for this purpose. Modern technology has removed the need for this archaic requirement, as all ordinances and resolutions are indexed in the City’s records management system.
  • Article III – Administration Many comments and question were raised regarding various provisions and inconsistencies inherent in Article III. The general nature of most comments focused on the responsibility for appointment of “Officers (Department Heads, City Attorney and City Administrator) and Employees” of the City, and on responsibilities for directing their day-to-day activities. It should be noted that as these proposed revisions would impact employment status of several employees, these Charter amendments would need to be approved at a statewide general election. (Elections Code Section 1415.) These proposed revisions as well as the others listed below are consistent with current best practices in government and with the Council-Administrator form of government followed by the City of Piedmont.
  • SECTION 3.01 OFFICERS OF THE CITY
    Currently, this section provides that officers of the City shall be appointed and directed by the Council. This is inconsistent with both practice and other provisions of Article III.The proposed amendments to this section provide that the City Council appoint the City Administrator and the City Attorney, and that all other officers of the City be appointed and directed by the City Administrator. An additional edit is made to this section to revise the title of Director of Parks and Recreation to Director of Recreation.
  •  SECTION 3.02 OFFICIAL BONDS
    This section was identified as archaic and is proposed for deletion in its entirety. The removal of this section requires the renumbering of each subsequent section in this article.
  •  SECTION 3.03 CITY ADMINISTRATOR
    Item 1 on the list of the City Administrator’s powers and duties is revised to clarify that the City Administrator has responsibility to appoint, discipline, suspend or remove “officers appointed by the City Administrator” as well as employees….”.
  •  SECTION 3.05 CITY CLERK
    This section is revised to make the City Administrator responsible for appointment of the City Clerk as well as to indicate that the City Clerk can be assigned other duties, by state law and the City Administrator.
  • SECTION 3.06 CITY ATTORNEY
    There is one non-substantive, editorial revision proposed to this section.  NOT DEFINED
  •  SECTION 3.07 DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
    This section is revised to reflect actual practice and the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01. In keeping with the Council-Administrator form of government, should Council wish to assign other duties to the Finance Director or other department heads, work assignments are made to and through the City Administrator.
  •  SECTION 3.08 POLICE DEPARTMENT
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.09 FIRE DEPARTMENT
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained under Section 3.07.

In addition, language is added to expressly indicate that the Fire Department is responsible for the provision of emergency medical services.

  •  SECTION 3.10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.In addition, language is added to give the department responsibility for maintenance of parks and public facilities, which conforms the Charter to long standing practice.
  •  SECTION 3.11 CITY ENGINEER
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.12 PLANNING DIRECTOR
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.13 DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.This section is also revised to remove the reference to Park in the Department name as well as to remove the responsibility for maintenance of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities from the list of responsibilities. These were added to the Public Works Department section above. Note that the responsibility for carrying out Council policies related to the use of park lands and recreation facilities remains with the Recreation Department, as is long standing practice.Article IV – Fiscal Matters

SECTION 4.03 THE BUDGET
Currently, the last two paragraphs of this section require that the City maintain a reserve of no more than 25% of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies.

As detailed in a June 19, 2017 Council Agenda Report, the City Charter, from its original adoption in 1923 through 1980, placed no requirement for, or limit on, reserves of the General Fund. In 1980, the Charter was amended to require that a reserve be established for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies and specified that the reserve not exceed 10%. In a 1999, the Municipal Tax Review Committee, stated that “….caps on the General Fund Reserve were originally designed to prevent a spendthrift Council from taxing residents for the sake of piling up unnecessary reserves. We believe that history – and quadrennial parcel tax votes – show this fear to be unfounded”. Based on the Committee’s report, the Council proposed and the voters approved an amendment in 2000 that increased the maximum General Fund reserve to 25% and expanded the purpose to include “maintenance of municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City.

The provision for placing a percentage limitation on the size of the General Fund reserve seems to have been born out of a concern that the City would tax its residents beyond what is needed to support prudent operations and thus accumulate unnecessary reserves. In practice, this has never happened. Additionally, the City has no authority to impose taxes on residents. In the case of the parcel tax, continuation of the tax, and any increase which may be proposed, is subject to a vote of Piedmont residents every four years. This requirement for voter approval, in addition to annual public hearings on the budget, provides valuable opportunities for resident oversight of City budget practices, operations, and performance.

If the Charter were to include any provisions relating to the reserves of the General Fund, best practice and prudence would dictate speaking to the need to build and maintain reserves as opposed to placing artificial limits on the size of the reserve. For these reasons it is proposed that the section be amended to state that the City shall maintain a General Fund Reserve and that the Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than 15% of the General Fund operating budget. Note that the addition of “operating budget”, rather than simply referring to “the budget”, provides needed clarity as to exactly how to apply referenced percentages.

SECTION 4.11 CONTRACT WORK
This section currently requires that the City conform to state law regarding awarding of contracts to the lowest responsible bidder for any contract above the dollar threshold set by state law, currently $5,000. Among other requirements, it also allows the Council to contract for work on the open market, without using the bidding process, if it deems it more economical or beneficial to do so. Other provisions include the requirement that the City establish a competitive bidding system by ordinance.

The proposed revisions to this section eliminate the requirement that the City conform to the state dollar threshold regarding lowest responsible bidder. Removing this requirement maintains the necessity of bidding public projects to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in a wise manner, however it lets the City set its own rules as to the dollar amount threshold for formal, informal, and open market purchases and projects. In 2017, the Council passed a revision to the City’s purchasing provisions, which set the limit for open market purchases at $5,000, the limit for informal bidding at $75,000, and required formal bidding above that amount.

Article V – Personnel

  •  SECTION 5.01 PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION
    This section specifies the personnel classification of the elective officers, officers, employees, and volunteers of the City, identifying whether they fall into the unclassified or classified services of the City for the purposes of Civil Service regulations.Subsection (A)(2) is revised to remove listings of specific positions in the unclassified service, rather referring to the “Officers of the City” as defined in Section 3.01 of the Charter. This amendment is largely editorial in nature and is proposed to better correspond to terminology and provisions of other sections of the Charter.
  •  SECTION 5.02 APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS
    This section currently requires that appointments and promotions be made based upon the selection of the best qualified individual for a job. It also prohibits discrimination against employees based upon sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.The proposed amendment to this section modernizes the prohibition against employment discrimination to include all classes protected under U.S. and state law.
  • ARTICLE VII PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Though the Piedmont Unified School District is a separate entity from the City of Piedmont, its creation dates back to the passage of the original Piedmont City Charter in 1923. Since that time, though the PUSD operates separately from the City, provisions regarding the District’s elected governing board have, by necessity of its creation, resided in the City Charter. The provisions of the Charter related to the PUSD solely govern the election, membership requirements, compensation, and organization of the Board of Education. As the City Council and the Board of Education are the only elected bodies in Piedmont, these requirements closely mirror each other, though there are differences reflecting the body of law governing each organization.Should the Council decide to pursue suggested Charter amendments, any proposals relating to PUSD would be discussed with the Board and staff would seek their support prior to advancing revisions to this Article.

  •  SECTION 7.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE
    Currently the term limit provisions for the Board of Education match those for the City Council. Should the Council wish to make the term limits for the Council stricter, it should consider doing the same for the Board of Education.
  •  SECTION 7.04 VACANCIES
    Currently, the requirements for filling a vacancy on the Board of Education match those of the City Council in Section 2.05, above. The proposed amendment to this section mirror the changes proposed for the City Council in Section 2.05.
  •  SECTION 7.06 MEETINGS
    Currently, this section contains the same archaic provision regarding compelling attendance at meetings as are contained in Section 2.07(C) for the City Council.

The proposed amendment parallels the proposed amendment to Section 2.07(C) and deletes the provision allowing for a minority of members to compel attendance of absent members.

THE COMPLEXITY OF THE CHARTER REQUIRES COORDINATION FOR EACH SECTIONS TO WORK WITHIN THE WHOLE. 

Following are some of the changes proposed.  Refer to the City staff report for additional details by clicking HERE.

ARTICLE I.

Section 1.01 Section 1.02 Section 1.03 Section 1.04

ARTICLE II.

Section 2.01 Section 2.02 Section 2.03 Section 2.04 Section 2.05 Section 2.06 Section 2.07 Section 2.08 Section 2.09 Section 2.10 Section 2.11 Section 2.12 Section 2.13 Section 2.14 Section 2.15

ARTICLE III.

Section 3.01 Section 3.02 Section 3.03 Section 3.04 Section 3.05 Section 3.06 Section 3.07 Section 3.08 Section 3.09 Section 3.10 Section 3.11 Section 3.12 Section 3.13

Table of Contents
POWERS OF THE CITY Page Name 1 Boundaries 1 Powers of the City 1 Intergovernmental Relations 1

CITY COUNCIL

Composition, Eligibility and Election 1 Compensation 2 Term of Office 2 General Powers and Duties 2 Vacancies Forfeiture of Offices Filling of Vacancies 2 Judge of Qualifications 3 Council Meetings 3 Mayor 4 Investigations 4 Administrative Relations 4 Action Requiring an Ordinance 4 Ordinances in General 5 Emergency Ordinances 6 Codes of Technical Regulations 6 Authentication and Recording Codification Printing 7

ADMINISTRATION

Officers and Employees 7 Official Bonds 8 City Administrator 8 Acting City Administrator 9 City Clerk 9 City Attorney 10 Department of Finance 10 Police Department 11 Fire Department 11 Department of Public Works 11 City Engineer 11 Planning Director 11 Department of Parks and Recreation 12

FISCAL MANAGEMENT Page

Fiscal ear 12 Submission of Budget 12 The Budget 12 Action on Budget 13 Amendments After Adoption 14 Lapse of Appropriations 14 Tax System 14 Tax Rate Limitation 14 Independent Audit 14 Franchises 15 Contract Work 16 Purchasing 16 Temporary Loans 16 Bonded Debt Limit 16

PERSONNEL

Personnel Classification 17 Appointments and Promotions 17 Personnel Rules and Regulations 17 Suspension, Demotion and Dismissal 18 Retirement System 18 Authority to Join Other Systems 18

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Creation of Boards and Commissions 19 Membership, Term of Office 19 Compensation 19 Organization 19 Public Record 20

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Governing Board 20 Membership, Term of Office 20

Compensation Vacancies Organization Meetings

ARTICLE VIII.

Section 8.01 Section 8.02 Section 8.03 Section 8.04

ARTICLE IX.

Section 9.01 Section 9.02 Section 9.03 Section 9.04 Section 9.05 Section 9.06 Section 9.07 Section 9.08

ELECTIONS Page

General Municipal Elections 21 Special Municipal Elections 21 Procedure for Holding Elections 21 Initiative, Referendum, and Recall 22

GENERAL PROVISIONS

General Plan 22 zoning System 22 Conflict of Interest 23 General Laws Applicable 23 Separability 23 Charter Enforcement 23 Charter Amendment 23

SECTION 1.01 NAME

ARTICLE I. Powers of the City

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Piedmont shall remain and continue to be an entity as at present.

SECTION 1.02 BOUNDARIES

The boundaries of the City shall be the same as now established, with power and authority to change the same as provided by law.

SECTION 1.03 POWERS OF THE CITY

The City shall have all powers possible for a city to have under the Constitution and laws of the State of California as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.

The powers of the City under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the City, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power stated in this Article.

SECTION 1.04 INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

The City may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with any other public or private agency.

ARTICLE II City Council

SECTION 2.01 COMPOSITION, ELIGIBILITY AND ELECTION

  1. (A)  COMPOSITION. There shall be a City Council of five (5) members elected at large by the qualified voters of the City.
  2. (B)  ELIGIBILITY . Only qualified voters of the City shall be eligible to hold the office of Councilmember.

(C) HOLDING OTHER OFFICES. Except where authorized by law, no Councilmember shall hold any other office or employment with the City.

(D) ELECTION. The regular election of Councilmembers shall be held at the General Municipal Election as provided for in Section 8.01 of this Charter. The terms of elected Councilmembers shall begin upon certification of the election results by the City Council. They shall hold office for four (4) years. Elections shall be alternately for two (2) and three (3) Councilmembers, excluding elections to fill an unexpired term of office. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 2.02 COMPENSATION

The members of the City Council shall not receive any compensation for their service to the City. Councilmembers may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Council.

SECTION 2.03 TERM OF OFFICE

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

SECTION 2.04 GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES

All powers of the City shall be vested in the City Council as the legislative body, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter. The Council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the City by law.

SECTION 2.05 VACANCIES; FORFEITURE OF OFFICE; FILLING OF VACANCIES

  1. (A)  VACANCIES. The office of a Councilmember shall become vacant upon his her death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or forfeiture of office.
  2. (B)  FORFEITURE OF OFFICE. A Councilmember shall forfeit office if the member:

(1) lacks at any time during the term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by this Charter or by State law(2)  violates any prohibition of this Charter or (3)  is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

(C) FILLING OF VACANCIES. A vacancy on the City Council shall be filled by appointment by the Council, with said appointee to hold office until the next general municipal election, when a successor shall be chosen by the electors for the unexpired term. If the Council does not fill such vacancy within sixty (60) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by special election.

Notwithstanding the requirement of this Charter that a quorum of the Council consists of three members, if at any time the membership of the Council is reduced to two, the remaining members shall appoint one additional member to raise the membership to three (3), and then call a special municipal election to fill all vacancies, including the vacancy to which an appointment has just been made. If at any time there are four (4) or more vacancies, the City Clerk shall call a special election at once to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms, with said election being conducted in accordance with the rules for a general municipal election.

SECTION 2.06 JUDGE OF QUALIFICATIONS

The City Council shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of office, and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of office shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand, and notice of such hearing shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City at least one week in advance of the hearing. Decisions made by the Council under this section shall be subject to review by the courts.

SECTION 2.07 COUNCIL MEETINGS

  1. (A)  MEETINGS. The City Council shall meet regularly at such times and places as the Council may prescribe by ordinance or resolution. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Mayor or of three (3) or more members and, whenever practicable, upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours notice to each member. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.
  2. (B)  RULES AND MINUTES. The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping minutes of its proceedings. These minutes shall be a permanent public record.
  3. (C)  VOTING. Voting, except on procedural motions, shall be by roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes. Three (3) members of the Council shall constitute a quorum. No action of the Council, except as otherwise provided.

Deletions have been omitted here, as unclear.

 Deleted: but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council for in this Charter, shall be valid or binding unless adopted by the affirmative vote of three (3) or more members of the Council.

SECTION 2.08 MAYOR

Following each general municipal election, the City Council shall elect from among its member officers of the City who shall have the titles of Mayor and Vice-Mayor, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and by the Governor for the purposes of military law, but shall have no administrative duties. The Vice-Mayor shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the Mayor. In case of the temporary absence or disability of both the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, the Council shall select one of its members to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.

SECTION 2.09 INVESTIGATIONS

The City Council may make investigations into the affairs of the City and the conduct of any City department, office or agency, and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.

SECTION 2.10 ADMINISTRATIVE RELATIONS

Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations, Councilmembers shall deal with the City officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the City Administrator through the City Administrator.

SECTION 2.11 ACTION REQUIRING AN ORDINANCE

In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provisions of this Charter to be done by ordinance, those acts of the City Council shall be by ordinance which:

  1. (1)  Adopt or amend an administrative code, or combine or abolish any City department, office, record or commission
  2. (2)  Provide for a fine or other penalty, or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed
  3. (3)  Levy taxes, except as otherwise provided in this Charter with respect to the property tax levied by adoption of the budget
  4. (4)  Grant, renew or extend a franchise
  5. (5) Authorize the borrowing of money
  6. (6) Convey or lease or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands of the City
  7. (7) Adopt, with or without amendment, ordinances proposed under the initiative power and(8) Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted, except as otherwise provided in this Charter, with respect to repeal of ordinances reconsidered under the referendum power.

Acts other than those referred to in this section may be done either by ordinance or by resolution of the City Council. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, if an ordinance authorizes the council to establish rules and regulations on matters set forth in such ordinance, those rules and regulations adopted by resolution shall be valid and shall be subject to fine or penalty if the establishing ordinance so provides.

SECTION 2.12 ORDINANCES IN GENERAL

  1. (A)  FORM. Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing, and the subject of the ordinance shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be, “The City Council of the City of Piedmont hereby ordains…” Any proposed ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the City Code shall distinctly set out the City Code sections or subsections to be repealed or amended, and those existing provisions shall be posted with said ordinance.
  2. (B)  PROCEDURE. An ordinance may be introduced by any Councilmember at any regular or special meeting of the City Council. Upon the first reading of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall distribute a copy to each Councilmember and to the City Administrator, shall make available a reasonable number of copies in the office of the City Clerk, and shall post the ordinance together with a notice setting out the time and place for a final reading by the Council. The adoption shall follow the first reading by at least five (5) days. A proposed ordinance may be amended or modified between the time of its first reading and the time of its final adoption, providing its general scope and original purpose are retained. As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall post the final ordinance before its effective date. All ordinances shall be attested by the City Clerk or his her designee.
  3. (C)  EFFECTIVE DATE. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, every adopted ordinance shall become effective at the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption or at any later date specified therein.
  4. (D)  POSTING DEFINED. As used in this section, the term “posting” means to post the ordinance on the official city web site.5

Deleted: bulletin board

SECTION 2.13 EMERGENCY ORDINANCES

To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the City Council may adopt one or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes grant, renew or extend a franchise or authorize the borrowing of money in excess of twenty five percent (25%) of the tax receipts from the previous fiscal year. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting which it is introduced, but the affirmative vote of at least four (4) Councilmembers shall be required for adoption. After its adoption, the ordinance shall be posted as prescribed for other adopted ordinances. It shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. Every emergency ordinance, except an emergency appropriation, shall automatically stand repealed as of the 61st day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent re-enactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.

SECTION 2.14 CODES OF TECHNICAL REGULATIONS

The City Council may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by reference thereto in an adoption ordinance. The procedure and requirements governing such an adopting ordinance shall be as prescribed for ordinances generally, except that:

  1. (1)  One copy of each adopted code of technical regulations as well as of the adopting ordinances shall be authenticated and recorded by the City Clerk pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Copies of any adopted code of technical regulations shall be made available at the office of the City Clerk for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.

SECTION 2.15 AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING; CODIFICATION; PRINTING

  1. (A)  AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING. The City Clerk shall, when necessary, authenticate by signature all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the City Council.
  2. (B)  CODIFICATION. Within a time to be determined by the Council, a general codification of all City ordinances and resolutions having the force and effect of law shall be prepared and periodically revised. The general codification shall be printed, together with this Charter and any amendments thereto, and such codes or technical regulations and other rules and regulations as the Council may specify. This compilation shall be known and cited officially as the Piedmont City Code. Copies of the code shall be furnished to City officers, placed in the City Clerk’s office for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.
  3. (C)  PRINTING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS. The Council shall cause each ordinance and resolution having the force and effect of law and each amendment to this Charter to be printed following its adoption, and the printed ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices to be fixed by the Council. All ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be printed in substantially the same style as the Code currently in effect and shall be suitable in form for integration therein

 

.ARTICLE III. Administration

SECTION 3.01 OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

The officers of the City of Piedmont shall consist of a City Administrator, a City Clerk, a City Attorney, a Director of Finance, a Chief of Police, a Fire Chief, a Director of Public Works, a City Engineer, a Planning Director, a Director of Recreation and such other subordinate officers, assistants, deputies and employees as the City Council may deem necessary to provide by ordinance or resolution. The City Administrator and City Attorney shall be appointed and directed by the Council, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the Council. All other officers shall be appointed and directed by the City Administrator.

The Council may by resolution reorganize, or by ordinance combine or consolidate or abolish any two or more offices or functions and require the duties of the same to be performed by one officer or department. The Council shall have the right of providing for such officers, departments and their functions in whole or in part through contract agreements.

Some deletions here.

Deleted: and shall record them in full in an indexed book kept for this purpose.

Deleted: administrative Deleted: Parks and Deleted: All officers

The Council may transfer or consolidate functions of the City government to or with appropriate functions of the State or County government, or any other public or private agency, or make use of such functions of said entities. In such case, the provisions of this Charter providing for the function of the City government so transferred or consolidated shall be deemed suspended during the continuance of such transfer or consolidation, to the extent that such suspension is made necessary or convenient and is set forth in the ordinance establishing such transfer or consolidation. Any such transfer or consolidation may be repealed in like manner.

SECTION 3.02 CITY ADMINISTRATOR

The City Council shall appoint a City Administrator for an indefinite term and fix his her compensation. The administrator shall be appointed on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications.

The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the City Council for the administration of all City affairs placed in his her charge by or under this charter.

The administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

  1. (1)  Shall appoint, discipline, and, when deemed necessary for the good of the City, suspend or remove City officers appointed by the City Administrator and employees except as otherwise provided by law, this Charter or personnel rules adopted pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Shall supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law and except further that the internal administration of each department shall remain with each department head.
  3. (3)  Shall attend Council meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion, but may not vote.
  4. (4)  Shall see that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Council, subject to enforcement by him her or by officers subject to his her supervision, are faithfully executed.
  5. (5)  Shall prepare and submit the annual budget to the Council and shall supervise its administration after its adoption.
  6. (6)  Shall submit to the Council and make available to the public a report on the finances of the City each fiscal year.
  7. (7)  Shall make such other reports as the Council may require concerning the operations of City departments, offices and agencies

Deleted:
SECTION 3.02 OFFICIAL BONDS

The City Council shall determine which officers shall give bonds for the faithful performance of their official duties and fix the amount of said bonds. Such officers, before entering upon their official duties, shall execute a bond to the City in the sum legally required, which bond shall include any other offices they hold. The bonds shall be approved by the Council, paid for by the City and filed with the City Clerk except that the bonds of the City Administrator and the City Clerk shall be filed with the City Attorney.

  1. (8)  Shall keep the Council fully advised as to the financial condition and future needs of the City and make recommendations to the Council concerning the affairs of the City.
  2. (9)  Shall administer the personnel system of the City and, in particular, those matters involving the City’s personnel classification system and employee benefit and retirement plans.
  3. (10)  Shall maintain a system of City records.
  4. (11)  Shall perform such other duties as are specified in this charter or may be required by the Council.

SECTION 3.03 ACTING CITY ADMINISTRATOR

By letter filed with the City Clerk, the administrator shall designate a qualified City administrative officer to exercise the powers and perform the duties of administrator during temporary absence or disability. The City Council may by majority vote revoke such designation at any time and appoint another officer of the City to serve until the administrator shall return or the disability shall cease.

SECTION 3.04 CITY CLERK

The City Administrator shall appoint an officer of the City who shall have the title of City Clerk. The City Clerk shall give notice of Council meetings to its members and the public, keep the minutes of its proceedings and perform such other duties as are assigned by this Charter, State Law, the City Council, or the City Administrator.

SECTION 3.05 CITY ATTORNEY

The City Council shall appoint a City Attorney. That person shall be an attorney-at-law licensed as such under the laws of the State of California, and continue to be so licensed during the time of holding office, and shall have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five (5) years prior to appointment. The City Attorney shall, directly or through deputies, have power and be required to:

  1. (1)  Represent and advise the Council and all officers of the City in all matters of law pertaining to their offices
  2. (2)  Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any

Deletions here are omitted, as unclear.

City officer or employee, or former City officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his her employment or by reason of official capacity, provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected

  1. (3)  Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council, by the City Administrator or by any of the boards or commissions of the City, subject to the approval of the Council or the City Administrator
  2. (4)  Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing approval thereon in writing
  3. (5)  Prepare ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto
  4. (6)  Transfer forthwith to the appointed successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City, which he she has in their control.

The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter or to assist the City Attorney therein.

SECTION 3.06 DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

There shall be a Department of Finance headed by a Director of Finance who will have charge of the administration of the financial affairs of the City, and may be empowered to act as assessor, tax collector and or treasurer for the City, and perform such other duties as may be assigned.
The department shall be responsible for the collection of all taxes, assessments, license fees and other revenues of the City for whose collection the City is responsible and shall receive all taxes or other money receivable by the City from the County, State or Federal governments or from any office or department of the City.

SECTION 3.07 POLICE DEPARTMENT

There shall be a Police Department headed by a Chief of Police. This department shall have charge of the law enforcement function of the City, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned, with the duty of preserving the public peace and upholding the laws of the City and of the State of California. For the enforcement of said laws, the chief shall have all the powers that are now or may hereafter be conferred upon sheriffs and other peace officers by the laws of the State. Every citizen shall lend aid to the police when requested for the arrest of offenders, the maintenance of public order, or the protection of life and property.

SECTION 3.08 FIRE DEPARTMENT
Many deletions here were unclear.

There shall be a Fire Department headed by a Fire Chief. This department shall have charge of the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the provision of emergency medical services, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned. The chief shall also direct the department in protecting life and property in other natural and or man-made disasters. Every citizen shall lend aid to the fire department when requested for the protection of life and property.

SECTION 3.09 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

There shall be a Department of Public Works headed by a Director of Public Works. This department shall have charge of the maintenance and repair of all City streets, sewers and storm sewers, parks, public facilities, and any other related activities as may be assigned.

SECTION 3.10 CITY ENGINEER

There shall be a City Engineer who shall have supervision over all matters of an engineering character as required by State law, or as may be assigned. At the time of appointment, this officer shall have been a practicing civil engineer for a period of at least five (5) years, and licensed in the State of California.

SECTION 3.11 PLANNING DIRECTOR

There shall be a Planning Director who shall be responsible for administering the City’s continuing planning activities as may be assigned, including, but not limited to, maintenance of the general plan, overseeing the zoning system and building regulations and codes.

SECTION 3.12 DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION

There shall be a Department of Recreation headed by a Director of Recreation. This department shall have charge of the organization and administration of the City’s public recreation programs and such other related activities as may be assigned. The director shall administer the operations and programs of the department and shall carry out policies established by the Council for the use of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities.

Many deletions here omitted for lack of clarity.

ARTICLE IV. Fiscal Management

SECTION 4.01 FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of the City shall begin on the first day of July and end on the thirtieth day of June of the following year.

SECTION 4.02 SUBMISSION OF BUDGET

On or before the fifteenth day of May of each year, the City Administrator shall submit to the City Council a budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

SECTION 4.03 THE BUDGET

The City Administrator shall submit the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of the City’s programs. The administrator shall outline the proposed financial policies of the City for the fiscal year describe the important features of the budget indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues, together with reasons for such changes summarize the City’s debt position and include such other material as the administrator deems desirable or as the City Council designates.

The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year. In organizing the budget, the City Administrator shall utilize the most feasible combination of expenditure classification by fund, organization unit, program, purpose or activity, and object. It shall begin with a clear general summary of its contents shall show in detail all estimated income, indicating the proposed property tax levy, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the fiscal year and shall be so arranged as to show comparative figures for income and expenditures of the current fiscal year and the preceding fiscal year. It shall indicate in separate sections:

  1. (1)  The proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department in terms of their respective programs, and the method of financing such expenditures and
  2. (2)  The proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department, and the proposed method of financing each such capital expenditure.

The Council shall maintain a General Fund Reserve for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City. The City Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than fifteen (15%) of the General Fund operating budget.

SECTION 4.04 ACTION ON BUDGET

  1. (A)  NOTICE AND HEARING. The City Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a notice stating:
    1. (1)  the times and places where copies of the budget are available for inspection by the public and
    2. (2)  the time and place, not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days after such publications, for a public hearing on the budget.
  2. (B)  AMENDMENT BEFORE ADOPTION. After the public hearing, the Council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. In amending the budget, it may add or increase programs or amounts and may delete or decrease programs or amounts, except expenditures required by law or for debt service or for estimated cash deficit, provided that no amendment to the budget shall increase the authorized expenditures to an amount greater than the total estimated income.
  3. (C)  ADOPTION. The Council shall adopt the budget on or before the thirtieth day of June of the fiscal year currently ending. If the Council fails to adopt the budget by this date, the amounts appropriated for current operation for the current fiscal year shall be deemed adopted for the ensuing fiscal year on a month-by-month basis, with all items in it prorated accordingly, until such time as the Council adopts a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. Adoption of the budget shall constitute appropriation of the amounts specified therein for expenditure from the funds indicated.
  4. (D)  PUBLIC RECORD. The budget shall be printed and made available for public review.

SECTION 4.05 AMENDMENTS AFTER ADOPTION

The Council may during the course of the fiscal year amend the budget by reducing or increasing appropriations, transferring appropriations, and authorizing supplemental appropriations, and may authorize expenditures from the unappropriated reserve fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City from funds so approved, transferred, or added thereto by the Council.

SECTION 4.06 LAPSE OF APPROPRIATIONS

Every appropriation, except an appropriation for a capital expenditure, shall lapse at the close of Deleted: in an amount not to exceed twenty-five (25%) of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City.

For each fiscal year, the proposed General Fund expenditures shall be no greater than the sum of estimated General Fund revenue plus the General Fund Reserve. (Amended 3 7 2000)

Deleted: the fiscal year to the extent that it has not been expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a capital expenditure shall continue in force until the purpose for which it was made has been accomplished or abandoned the purpose of any such appropriation shall be deemed abandoned if three (3) years pass without any disbursement from or encumbrance of the appropriation.

SECTION 4.07 TAX SYSTEM

Unless otherwise provided by ordinance, the City shall use, for the purpose of municipal property taxation, the County system of assessment and tax collection, as such system is now in effect or may hereafter be amended and insofar as such provisions are not in conflict with this Charter.

SECTION 4.08 TAX RATE LIMITATION

The City shall not levy a rate of taxation beyond that sufficient to raise the amounts required for the annual budget and as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, less the amounts estimated to be received from fines, licenses and other sources of revenues.

SECTION 4.09 INDEPENDENT AUDIT

The City Council shall provide for an independent annual audit of all City accounts and may provide for such more frequent audits as it deems necessary. Such audits shall be made by a certified public accountant or firm of such accountants with no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the City government or any of its officers. The Council may, without requiring competitive bids, designate such accountant or firm, annually or for a period not exceeding three (3) years. The designation for any particular fiscal year shall be made no later than thirty (30) days after the beginning of the fiscal year.

SECTION 4.10 FRANCHISES

No person or corporation shall exercise any franchise right or privilege in the City except insofar as they may be entitled to do so by direct authority of the State Constitution, unless they shall have obtained grant therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Charter and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by ordinance.

(A) TERMS, CONDITIONS AND PROCEDURES. The City Council shall, by ordinance, prescribe the terms, conditions and procedures under which franchises will be granted, subject to the provisions of this Charter provided, however, that such procedural ordinance or ordinances shall make provisions for the giving of public notice for franchise applications, for protects against the granting of such franchises and for public hearings on such applications.

 

The Council, in granting franchises, shall prescribe the terms and conditions of such franchises in accordance with the applicable provisions of this Charter and any ordinance adopted thereto, and may in such franchise impose such other and additional terms and conditions not in conflict with said Charter or ordinances, whether governmental or contractual in character, as in the judgment of said Council are in the public interest or as the people, by initiative, indicate they desire to have imposed.

  1. (B)  METHOD OR GRANTING FRANCHISE. The Council may grant a franchise without calling for bids or may, in its discretion, advertise for bids for the sale of a franchise upon a basis not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.
  2. (C)  TERM OF FRANCHISE. Every franchise shall be either a fixed term or for an indeterminate period. If for a fixed term, the franchise shall state the term for which it is granted if indeterminate, it shall set forth the terms and conditions under which it may be terminated.
  3. (D)  EMINENT DOMAIN. No franchise grant shall in any way, or to any extent, impair or affect the right of the City to acquire the property of the grantee thereof either by purchase or through the exercise of the right of eminent domain, and nothing therein contained shall be construed to contract away or to modify or to abridge, either for a term or in perpetuity, the City’s right of eminent domain with respect to any public utility.
  4. (E)  ADEQUATE COMPENSATION. No new franchise or renewal of an existing franchise shall be granted without reserving to the City just and adequate compensation.

SECTION 4.11 CONTRACT WORK

All contracts shall be drawn under the supervision of the City Attorney. All contracts must be in writing and executed in the name of the City by an officer or officers authorized to sign the same.

The City Council shall establish, by ordinance, the rules and regulations for the City’s competitive bidding system. The Council may reject any and all bids, and may call for new bids. The Council, without advertising for bids, may provide for such work to be procured in the open market if it deems it more beneficial or economical to do so.

SECTION 4.12 PURCHASING

A purchasing system shall be established for all City departments and offices. The City Council shall consider and adopt rules and regulations governing the contracting for purchasing, inspection, storing, distribution or disposal of all supplies, materials and equipment require by

 

Deleted: All expenditures for public projects above the limit from time to time set by State law shall be contracted for and let to the lowest responsible bidder after notice.any department or office of the City.

SECTION 4.13 TEMPORARY LOANS

Money may be borrowed in anticipation of the receipts from taxes during any fiscal year, by the issue of notes, certificates of indebtedness or revenue bonds but the aggregate amount of such loans at any time outstanding shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the receipts from all taxes during the preceding fiscal year and all such loans shall be paid out of the receipts from taxes for the fiscal year in which they are issued.

SECTION 4.14 BONDED DEBT LIMIT

The City shall not incur an indebtedness evidenced by obligation bonds which shall in the aggregate exceed the sum of twenty (20) percent of total assessed valuation for purposes of City taxation, of all the real and personal property within the City, exclusive of any indebtedness that has been or may hereafter be incurred for the purposes of acquiring, constructing, extending or maintaining municipal utilities, for which purpose a further indebtedness may be incurred by the issuance of bonds, subject only to the provisions of the State Constitution and of this Charter.

No bonded indebtedness which shall constitute a general obligation of the City may be created unless authorized by the affirmative votes of a majority of the electors voting on such proposition at any election at which the question is submitted to the electors and unless in full compliance with the provisions of the State Constitution, other State laws and this Charter.

ARTICLE V. Personnel

SECTION 5.01 PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION

The administrative service of the City shall be divided into unclassified and classified service: (A) The unclassified service shall comprise the following officers and positions:

  1. (1)  All elective officers
  2. (2)  The officers of the City, as defined in this charter
  3. (3)  All members of boards and commissions
  4. (4)  Positions in any class or grade created for a special or temporary purpose for a period of not longer than six months16

Deleted: CityAdministrator,CityAttorney,CityClerk, personnel officer, and the head of each department of the City

  1. (5)  Persons employed to render professional, scientific, technical or expert services of any occasional or exceptional character
  2. (6)  Part-time employees paid on an hourly or per diem basis.

(B) The classified service shall comprise all positions not specifically included by this section in the unclassified service.

SECTION 5.02 APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

All appointments to and promotions within the classified service shall be based upon selection of the best qualified individual as determined by means of recognized personnel selection techniques. The City shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of sex, race, creed, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, AIDS HIV status, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence.

SECTION 5.03 PERSONNEL RULES AND REGULATIONS

The City Council shall implement the personnel system provided by this Charter by adopting rules and regulations governing the administration thereof. Such personnel rules and regulations shall provide, among other things, for:

  1. (1)  The preparation, installation, revision, and maintenance of a position classification plan covering all positions in the classified service, including minimum standards and qualifications for each class and
  2. (2)  The preparation, revision and administration of a plan of compensation directly correlated with the position classification plan, providing a range or maximum rate of pay for each class.

SECTION 5.04 SUSPENSION, DEMOTION AND DISMISSAL

An employee holding a position in the classified service may be suspended without pay, demoted, or removed from a position for malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency, inefficiency or for failure to perform the duties of the position or to observe the established rules and regulations in relation thereto, or to cooperate reasonably with superiors or fellow employees, but subject to the right to a hearing in the manner set forth by the City Council.

Any employee so suspended, demoted, or removed shall be given in writing the reasons for the suspension, demotion, or removal. Said employee shall be allowed a reasonable time for

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Deleted: or

Deleted: orethnicorigin.

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answering the same and may demand a public hearing upon the charges, with such hearing to be held in accordance with procedures established therefor. Hearings may be conducted informally, and the technical rules of evidence need not apply, but the employee whose suspension, demotion or removal is sought shall be heard in person, if he she requests, be permitted to be represented by counsel and to produce testimony in his her own behalf.

SECTION 5.05 RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The City Council shall have the power to provide for the creation, establishment and maintenance of a retirement or pension plan or plans for any or all officers and employees of the City. The pension system for members of the police and fire departments as set forth in Section 47 of the Charter in effect on January 1, 1979, shall be incorporated in the City Code, and any amendment thereto shall not be effective unless approved by a majority of the voters voting thereon at a general or special election.

SECTION 5.06 AUTHORITY TO JOIN OTHER SYSTEMS

The City of Piedmont, by and through its City Council, is hereby empowered to join in or continue as a contracting agency in any retirement or pension system or systems existing or hereafter created under the laws of the State of California, or the United States of America, to which municipalities and municipal officers and employees are eligible.

ARTICLE VI. Boards and Commissions

SECTION 6.01 CREATION OF BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

The City Council may create by ordinance such operational, advisory, appellate or rule-making boards and commissions as may be required for the proper operation of any function or department of the City. In doing so, the Council shall prescribe their function, duties, powers, jurisdiction and the number of board and commission members.

SECTION 6.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE

Members of boards and commissions shall be appointed by majority vote of the City Council to serve three (3) year terms, and until their respective successors are appointed, with no person serving more than two consecutive terms of office. Members may be removed after a hearing by the affirmative vote of four (4) members of the Council. If a member of a board or commission is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings of such board or commission, unless by permission of such body expressed in its official meeting record or by permission of the Council,

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that office shall become vacant and shall be so declared by the Council. Appointments to fill any vacant, unexpired term shall be made by majority vote of the Council in the same manner as regular appointments are made. The Council shall by Council Resolution adopt and maintain in effect written policies and procedures for City Commission appointments. Any person who serves as a member of a board or commission for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term of office. (Charter Amendment 1984)

SECTION 6.03 COMPENSATION

The members of boards and commissions shall serve without compensation for their services to the City, but may receive reimbursement for necessary traveling and other expenses incurred on official duty when such expenditures have received authorization by the City Council.

SECTION 6.04 ORGANIZATION

Each year on a date set by their respective rules, each board and commission shall meet to organize by electing one of its members to serve as presiding officer at the pleasure of such body. Each board and commission established by the City Council shall hold meetings at such regular intervals as the proper transaction of business shall require or as established by ordinance. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.

SECTION 6.05 PUBLIC RECORD

Minutes for each of such boards and commissions shall be kept as a record of its proceedings and transactions. Each board or commission shall prescribe its own rules and regulations which shall be consistent with this Charter and with City Council ordinances and resolutions, and copies of which shall be kept on file with the City Clerk.

ARTICLE VII. Public Schools

SECTION 7.01 GOVERNING BOARD

The Board of Education shall have control and management of the public schools in the Piedmont Unified School District in accordance with the Constitution and general laws of the State, and is hereby vested with al powers and charged with all the duties provide by this Charter and all the general laws of the State for city boards of education.

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SECTION 7.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE

The Board of Education shall consist of five (5) members elected from the City at large for a term of four (4) years. Board members shall be elected at the times and in the same manner provided for members of the City Council and shall be required to meet the same eligibility qualifications. No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Education shall be eligible to hold office until one (1) full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. Any person who serves as a member of the Board for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

SECTION 7.03 COMPENSATION

The members of the Board of Education shall not receive any compensation for their service to the School District. Board members may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Board.

SECTION 7.04 VACANCIES

The same rules governing the creation of vacancies or causing forfeiture of office from the City Council shall also apply to the members of the Board of Education. A vacancy on the Board shall be filled by appointment of a majority vote of said Board, with the appointee holding office for the remainder of the unexpired term or until the next general municipal election. If a vacancy on the Board of Education continues for sixty (60) days, the vacancy shall be filled by special election.

SECTION 7.05 ORGANIZATION

The Board of Education shall annually, pursuant to the requirements of the California Education Code, elect one of its own members to be President of the Board and another to serve as Vice- President. Either of these officers may be removed by the affirmative vote of four (4) members. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 7.06 MEETINGS

The Board of Education shall meet at such times and places as may be designated by resolution of said Board. Three (3) members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, except as otherwise provided by law. All meetings of the Board of Education shall be public, except as otherwise provided in the California Government and Education Codes. The Board shall determine the rules of its proceedings.

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Deleted: thirty
Deleted: 3
Deleted: the President of the Board of Education.

Deleted: , but a less number than three (3) at a scheduled meeting may adjourn and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner as the Board may prescribe

ARTICLE VIII. Elections

SECTION 8.01 GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

General Municipal elections for the election of officers and for such other purposes as the City Council may proscribe, shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even numbered years. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 8.02 SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

All other municipal elections that may be held by authority of this Charter, or of general law, or by ordinance, shall be known as special municipal elections.

SECTION 8.03 PROCEDURE FOR HOLDING ELECTIONS

Unless otherwise provided by ordinances hereafter enacted, all elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended, for the holding of elections in general law cities so far as the same are not in conflict with the Charter.

SECTION 8.04 INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL

There are hereby reserved to the electors of the City the powers of the initiative and referendum and recall of municipal elective officers. The provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or hereafter may be amended, governing the initiative and referendum and the recall of municipal officers, shall apply to the use thereof in the City so far as such provisions of the Elections Code are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.

ARTICLE IX. General Provisions

SECTION 9.01 GENERAL PLAN

The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City

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planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM

The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single- family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

SECTION 9.03 CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Subject to the provisions of State law, the City Council may adopt from time to time such ordinances, resolutions and regulations as the Council shall consider necessary and proper to prevent conflict of interest between the City and its officers, employees or members of boards, commissions or committees.

SECTION 9.04 GENERAL LAWS APPLICABLE

All general laws of the State applicable to municipal corporations, now or hereafter enacted, and which are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter or with ordinances hereafter enacted, shall be applicable to the City. The City Council may adopt and enforce ordinances which, in relation to municipal affairs, shall control as against the general laws of the State.

SECTION 9.05 SEPARABILITY

If any provision of this Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the Charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION 9.06 CHARTER ENFORCEMENT

The provisions of the Charter shall be enforced, with violations punishable in the manner provided by State law and by City ordinance.

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SECTION 9.07 CHARTER AMENDMENT

Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by the City Council or by the initiative process, as prescribed by this Charter and by State law.

All proposed Charter amendments shall be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. If a majority of said voters voting upon a proposed amendment vote in favor of it, the amendment shall become effective at the time fixed in the amendment or, if no time is therein fixed, thirty (30) days after its adoption by the voters.

SECTION 9.08 EFFECTIVE DATE

This Charter shall take effect on March 31, 1980, and upon its filing with the California Secretary of State.

Agenda Report Page 35

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RESIDENT

COMMENTS SUBMITTED ON CHARTER CHANGES

Item #7 – Discussion of Possible Amendments to the City Charter Correspondence received before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 5th Councilmembers:

Several of the proposed changes to the City Charter seem to be a step back from the volunteer leadership that has served Piedmont well and reduce the ability for residents to observe and participate in their local governance. Other than a logistical need to extend the period to allow for appointments, I don’t see how most of these recommended changes improve our local governance. Specifically:

Section 2:03 Terms of Office: No rationale for this change is provided in the staff report so if the council member of members proposing this could elaborate, it would help Council and community understand why this change is being considered. Term limits offset entrenched politicians and for better or worse do facilitate change. But they dilute experience. These limits are directed at political and entrenched interests, problems we do not face in Piedmont. Our council has always operated as non-partisan governance, based on volunteerism, which allows anyone to participate. The current code acknowledges this with the 2-term limit and enhances that spirit by allowing experienced volunteers to run again. John Chiang, Michael Bruck, June Monarch, Chuck Chakratavula – why would the city prevent these volunteers from serving again if they choose to? There is no need to make this change and doing so sends the wrong message to the community.

Section 2.07 (A) Meetings: from my experience the current schedule is essential to giving direction to and providing oversight of city staff. Workshops could be conducted as regular meetings if the total workload is an issue. And a full August recess would be appropriate. Recent events this past year – the conduct of elected officials and school staff – have demonstrated a real value in holding regularly scheduled meetings – the ability for the public to attend and express opinion on rapid developments. This has been valuable to giving direction to Council and the implementation of swift action.

Section 2.12 – Ordinances in General: this is obviously needed. I would advocate for more explicit notification of code changes that potentially have a material effect on someone’s property. For example, the set-back changes and right-of-way permissions adopted in the recent Chapter 17 revisions. These meetings were noticed however the specific changes to set-back rules were not explicitly presented. City notification should make these kinds of changes more apparent to residents.

Section 4.03 The Budget: Examine the suggestion made in the staff report that the 25% CAP was historically intended to prevent wasteful spending. To the contrary, I’ve always heard it was intended to do just what is does now – be a reserve during downturns in revenue, which did happen in the past in Piedmont. As transfer tax projections show, those downturns are becoming less and less likely and the current reserve level has more than adequately met such events. With the downturn in 2008 the transfer tax was $1.7M and the city hardly skipped a beat. No layoffs, no service reductions and within in 2 years the tax exceeded $3M. Leave the reserve CAP as is and consider instead mechanisms to forgo the municipal services tax in years of high transfer tax receipts – I recall we did this in 2012 when the transfer tax was $3.4M. Consider the results of your recent community polling – 50% of respondents found housing costs to be problematic – should the city be stock-piling tax revenue when half of Piedmont households find housing costs too high?

If you proceed with eliminating the CAP, consider a charter change that would direct excess transfer tax revenue to the school district after a fixed level needed by the city has been achieved. Unlike the city with it large reserves, the school district has little and is facing new mandates to set aside reserves that will drastically impact the service provided by the school district. Ironically it is the influx of new residents coming to Piedmont for the schools that are driving the windfall in municipal tax reserves. Garrett Keating

++++++++++++++++++

Dear Mayor McBain and Council,

Changing the City Charter is a critical issue. In 1976 a Charter Committee of residents was formed, chaired by Steve Eigenberg. That committee worked almost four years before an amended Charter was brought before voters in 1980. Given the breadth of the report before you, I do not believe a burden of this importance and magnitude should be left for you to decipher. You need thoughtful resident input and I suggest a Charter Committee be formed and be comprised of a cross-section of the community.

An Open Government Ordinance is needed; such an ordinance sunshines the Brown Act and extends the minimum three day notice requirement. I think a seven day notice requirement is appropriate though some Cities use eleven days. This allows the community to weigh in on important issues and allow residents who are otherwise occupied, such as Christmas when the Piedmont Post CUP was heard or this item over Super Bowl weekend, to have ample time to comment.

Sincerely, Rick Schiller

Considerations proposed by staff and Council can be read HERE.

PUBLIC NOTICE

CITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO CITY CHARTER

At a special meeting on Monday, April 30th at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, the City Council will discuss which, if any, possible amendments to the City Charter should be moved forward.

On June 17, 2017, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator. In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney, and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. The results of these reviews were presented to the Council at its regular meeting of February 5, 2018.

At its regular meeting of March 5, 2018, the Council decided not to place any amendments before the voters at the June 2018 primary election, and directed that a special meeting be held to examine all of the possible amendments to the Charter and determine which, if any, should be placed before the voters at the City’s General Municipal Election scheduled for November 2018.

At this April 30th special meeting, Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report (which is available on the city’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-02-05/charteramendment.pdf) and discuss whether any should move forward.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

You are invited to attend this meeting and express your opinion. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

_________________

Editors Note: The changes to be considered by the Council as potential Charter revisions have been difficult to view in the City staff report. There are places in this article that omit deletions as unclear.  Readers are referred to the staff report for a complete list of deletions.  It is hoped that future staff reports will mark with a strikethrough all deletions and note all additions in a comprehensive form.