City officials are looking at how things are done at the city council level, following several requests from Councilman TimBen Boydston, who asked officials to re-evaluate City Council protocols.
At issue for Boydston is when information is given out about agenda items, as well as how items get on the agenda and what information may be presented by council members regarding those items.
“This is how the council does their business, so that’s why it’s important,” Boydston said. “It’s the expectation of how they’re doing business, how they’re interacting with the public and how they’re interacting with each other,” Boydston said.
Boydston has found himself at odds with several of the city’s practices. One sticking point has been when the material is delivered.
In September, Boydston inquired as to whether a two-week lead time for agenda packets would be possible. Tuesday’s City Council packet, however, cites several problems associated with this, including the number of revisions that likely would be necessary if the documents were released then.
A study of comparably sized cities reveals that current Santa Clarita practices are in line with other cities, and in accordance with the Brown Act, which dictates a government announce public discussions at least 72 hours ahead of time.
Boydston also takes issue with the following city policy: “The city manager is responsible for setting the agenda for council meetings. Additionally, any council member or the mayor can put items on the agenda with the verbal majority consensus of the Council.”
Boydston interpreted the verbiage to mean he would need the city manager’s permission in order to change or add to the agenda. But Mayor Frank Ferry responded with a request for specific alternatives from Boydston.
“How would you like to see this written?” Ferry asked Boydston during an October meeting. “Because any one council member, me included, any one of us, if it’s just ‘I want it. I want it, therefore it should be on there.’ That person then can become more powerful than any other member and not an equal because that person now dictates all of staff’s time, all the resources and all the council meeting agenda.”
The issue, along with city staff alternatives, will be debated during Tuesday night’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.