In unanimous votes during their regular meeting Tuesday night, Santa Clarita City Council members moved to appoint local citizens to three city commissions and an audit panel, as well as a county health board.
Terms were up for three regular posts each on the city’s Planning Commission; Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission; Arts Commission; and Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panel; and one city-appointed position on the Los Angeles County Vector Control Board.
Mayor Marsha McLean and Councilmembers Bill Miranda and Laurene Weste nominated candidates who had applied for one term each on the city bodies. Here’s the breakdown:
Arts Commission — Susan Shapiro
PR&CS Commission — Victor Lindenheim
Planning Commission — Dan Masnada
Financial Accountability and Audit Panel — Wendy Langhans
Arts Commission — Patti Rasmussen
PR&CS Commission — Ruthann Levison
Planning Commission — Dennis Ostrum (renom)
Financial Accountability and Audit Panel — Susan Orloff
Arts Commission — Dr. Michael Millar
PR&CS Commission — Diana Boone
Planning Commission — Lisa Eichman
Financial Accountability and Audit Panel — Sandra Cattell
All five councilmembers voted to approve the nominations.
The regular terms for the new appointees will expire Dec. 31, 2022, or when a replacement is appointed. Each newly appointed member is expected to be seated at the first meeting of their respective body.
Burkhart Replaced on Planning Commission
The most surprising development was Miranda’s appointment of Masnada, a former Newhall Land executive and Castaic Lake Water Agency board member, to the Planning Commission, filling the seat held for two decades by Tim Burkhart, now Six Flags Magic Mountain’s vice president of maintenance and construction.
“I absolutely support your recommendations,” Kellar said prior to the final vote. “There’s a gentleman who’s been on the Planning Commission for many years (Tim Burkhart). I actually go back this far, folks — he was on the Planning Commission when I was there, and I’ve been on the City Council 18 years. (That) tells you how long he’s been here. But he has served this city very, very well over the years as a Planning Commissioner, and I think we would be remiss if we didn’t at least acknowledge the phenomenal work that Mr. Burkhart has provided this city.”
“I’d like to concur with Councilmember Kellar,” Weste said. “We should do something special for Burkhart because the man has given an incredible amount of expertise and time to this community to build it. He has worked through issues that were extremely difficult and legally complicated. So I’d like to see us do something special. He is such a great guy in our community.”
“I would agree with that,” McLean said. “He’s served us very well, and I want to thank him personally for his service, and hopefully we can acknowledge the work he has done.”
Vector Control Board
In a separate vote, Councilmembers also nominated and unanimously approved the city’s re-appointment of Heidi Heinrich to represent Santa Clarita on the Los Angeles County Vector Control Board. The sole applicant for the post, Heinrich was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I want to thank Heidi for attending the (Vector Control Board) meetings, which are not close, and preparing the reports for us on a regular basis,” McLean said.
Heinrich’s new four-year term began Monday, Jan. 7. The Vector Control Board representative cannot be removed at-will, so Heinrich will serve until the expiration of her term unless she resigns, vacates the office due to absences or is no longer a voter and resident within the city of Santa Clarita.
New Rules for Motions and Procedures
In other city business Tuesday night, City Council members weighed adoption of new rules and procedures for its meetings, including the process for nominating and electing a mayor and mayor pro-tem.
This followed the unexpected conflict and confusion in the Council’s vote to elect Marsha McLean mayor at the Dec. 11 Santa Clarita City Council meeting.
Councilmember Bob Kellar unexpectedly nominated Councilmember Cameron Smyth for Mayor in one motion. Mayor Pro-Tem McLean, who had been the presumed Mayoral nominee based on Council precedent, then nominated herself in a second motion.
Under the Council’s existing procedural rules, City Attorney Joe Montes said, the second motion — McLean’s — would be the first to be voted upon.
McLean ultimately won the Mayor post by a 3-2 vote, followed by a unanimous vote for Smyth as Mayor Pro-Tem.
On Tuesday night, councilmembers weighed two well-established sets of parliamentary rules, Robert’s Rules of Order and Rosenberg’s Rules of Order, and directed city staff to prepare a draft using Rosenberg’s Rules, with one major change: voting on the first motion first. The change would theoretically eliminate a conflict such as the one on Dec. 11 from occuring again.
The council also directed city staff to come back with ideas for a formal rotation for mayor. The staff report is expected in a month or more.