City Council Does Major Shake-Up of Municipal Commissions and Committees
• Some Members Had Held Posts for Many Years—Extent of Advance Notice about Changes Seemed to Vary
BY BILL KOENEKER
In one of the biggest shake-ups in municipal history on commissions and committees, the Malibu City Council took the first steps this week to disband some of the panels and terminate members when it agreed to a major overhaul at a special meeting of the council Tuesday night.
The council agreed to a plan disbanding the Native American Cultural Resources Advisory Committee, the Trails Master Plan Advisory Committee and the Economic Advisory Committee.
Even the Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission did not remain unscathed as the council agreed to modify the membership of the youth panel.
The council’s Commission/ Committee Organization Ad Hoc Committee, comprised of Mayor Lou La Monte and Councilmember John Sibert, had already given the nod to the shake-up.
Another upheaval calls for the Public Works Commission to combine functions with the Telecommunications Commission and remove panelists from both commissions, the existing Public Works Commission members and Telecommunications commissioners and direct the staff to bring back an item for each council member to appoint a commissioner to the new panel.
There were no fireworks in council chambers. Harold Greene, whose wife. Francine Greene, chairs NACRAC, said the matter came as no surprise to committee members. “Everything has been transparent for the last six months. This was not a surprise,” he said.
Greene said that some of the group would organize as a non-Brown Act project. “We can provide a stronger base. We can still be available as a volunteer consultant,” he added.
Ryan Embree, the chair of the Telecommunications Commission said he did not have the same experience. “I was not notified. We were not consulted. I suggest you put this off. It should be done at a regular meeting. A lot of commissioners do not know about this.”
“Why wasn’t this done at the regular meeting Monday night? This could be labeled as doing something sneaky. It looks unusual. The city attorney is not here,” Embree added.
The Public Works Commission makes recommendations concerning capital projects, including roads, solid waste, transportation, congestion management, stormwater management, landslide abatement, public utilities and other public works services.
The council also agreed to restructure the Wastewater Advisory Committee by removing the current members of the committee and modifying the number of members on the panel and means of appointment. Currently, the 10 members are each appointed by the council at large.
Staff will bring back an item for each council member to make an appointment to the restructured panel. Norm Haynie, the chair of the wastewater panel, agreed that a five-member panel would not be a problem.
The council agreed to reduce the members of what is called WACO from 10 to five members with one appointment by each council member. The committee makes recommendations concerning wastewater management, treatment and disposal.
The ad hoc committee recommended the Economic Advisory Committee be disbanded. The committee was appointed on April 6, 2000, to assist city staff in developing recommendations in the development of an Economic Element to the Malibu General Plan.
On Oct, 27, 2010, the city council considered dissolving the committee. The council directed staff to bring back an item to reestablish the committee and redetermine its goals and workload. The ad hoc committee, according to a staff report, considered the utility of this committee and concluded it was time to disband it.
Another committee given the ax is the Trails Master Plan Advisory Committee, which oversaw creation of the Trails Plan. The council adopted the updated Parkland and Trails system map on April 25, 2011 and placed the committee on hold to assist staff on an as-needed basis while the California Coastal Commission reviewed the map, according to a staff report.
Subsequently, staff received comments from the CCC and worked with the committee to address the coastal panel’s request. The committee has assisted with the questions raised by the state agency. Having completed its purpose, the ad hoc committee concluded it was time to disband the committee.
NACRAC, the Native American Cultural Resources Advisory Committee makes recommendations concerning Native American Cultural Resources, heritage, preservation and education programs.
“Planning staff advised the ad hoc committee that it could meet the objectives of the Local Coastal Program and the zoning ordinance by relying on experts within the staff Environmental Review Board,” the staff report stated.
“At this point, the ad hoc committee concluded that these purposes can be more effectively and efficiently achieved by staff efforts and consultation and experts. The ad hoc committee recommended disbanding the advisory committee,” the report further stated.
The Architects and Engineers Technical Advisory Committee serves as a technical advisory committee to the planning director to review, comment and make recommendations on proposed revisions to the General Plan, zoning ordinance, LCP and the development process. The committee last met in 2009 and the ad hoc panel recommended disbanding it.
The Harry Barovsky Memorial Youth Commission makes recommendations concerning city programs and projects targeted to serve young people.
The city council has modified the membership several times over the years. The city wants to encourage participation, but at the same time wants a manageable commission that is able to function, according to the staff report.
The council agreed to create a five-member executive board comprised from current commissioners to serve a one-year term. The members of the executive board are to be selected by the commission as a whole.
The remaining 11 members will participate in discussions and provide recommendations to the executive board. The executive board would have final approval of all actions by majority vote.
The council also agreed to establish a council policy limiting an individual’s service to one commission, committee or board at a time.