Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scottsdale Mayor Lane discarding expertise of Scottsdale residents...

...if the resident with that expertise is associated with an outgoing member of the City Council...

An email update from the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale (COGS) confirms something I had overheard, that members of City task forces who were appointed by outgoing council members Wayne Ecton and Tony/Marg Nelssen will be removed from their task forces and replaced by appointees of the newest members of the Council, Linda Milhaven and Dennis Robbins.

The email wonders if this is allowed under the rules in Scottsdale (City Charter and/or ordinances).  I'm not sure as the Charter and ordinances are unclear on the status of task forces (a lack of clarity that Lane is almost certainly taking advantage of), but while the City's commissions and boards are specifically covered in both Charter and ordinance language, task forces don't seem to be.

Article 5 of the Scottsdale City Charter gives the Council the authority to "create, change, and abolish boards or commissions" at its discretion, but nothing specifies the appointment procedures.

Section 2-241 of the City Code seems to apply here.

Part (b) specifies
"All members of appointive boards and commissions shall be appointed by and serve without compensation at the pleasure of the council."
Part (d) specifies
"Appointment to a board or commission, except the public safety personnel retirement system board and the personnel board, shall be for a term of three (3) years or until a successor is appointed. "
In short, and in practice, members of boards and commissions are appointed by the Council as a whole and the appointees serve specific terms on those boards and commissions.

However, the only place where task forces and task force members are mentioned is in the clauses of the City's code of ethics that say that the code of ethics applies to members of task forces. 

Otherwise, task forces are more temporary and "ad hoc" than the more formal boards and commissions.

The practice during the Lane administration regarding task forces has been for each member of the Council to directly appoint one member while the Mayor appoints the chair of the task force.

While there is nothing in the City's charter or code that clearly allows that practice, there also isn't anything barring it, either.

Whew.  :)

With all that as background, it seems petty and shortsighted of the Lane regime to discard folks who have been working on a given issue for up to a year or longer simply because of a change in the composition of the Council. 

This seems particularly so given the intent that task forces are temporary.  The time needed for new members to get up to speed can only needlessly lengthen the time that a task force has to spend on its given task, creating inefficiencies in both the use of taxpayer resources and in simple government operations.

Something that a "small government" enthusiast like Lane should find anathema to his professed ideology.

Only he doesn't apparently.

No comments: