Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 22 Public Hearings on Residency & Ratification

As you may know, the Takoma Park City Council is considering certain city-charter & code changes. I've already stated my position online and won't repeat it now. I will, however, ask you to come out and give your opinion at public hearings, Monday evening October 22.

The combined hearing on changes regarding city-manager and department-head residency and council involvement in appointment of department heads is scheduled for 8:15 pm. Please come earlier to sign in. Information is online at http://www.takomaparkmd.gov/ . (That hearing will be preceded by a hearing on a parking-permit zone in the New Hampshire Gardens neighborhood: Not of interest to most Takoma Park residents.)

Councilmember Fred Schultz's write-up is useful. He gave me permission to forward it, below.

If you wish to submit an opinion outside the hearing, send it by e-mail to clerk@takomagov.org. I suggest also sending directly to each councilmember: Bruce Williams <brucew@takomagov.org>, Fred Schultz <freds@takomagov.org>, Jarrett Smith <JarrettS@takomagov.org>,Kay Daniels-Cohen <kaydc@takomagov.org>, Seth Grimes <sethg@takomagov.org>, Terry Seamens <TerryS@takomagov.org>, Tim Male <timm@takomagov.org>. If you've sent an opinion already, you don't need to do it again unless your view has changed.

Ward 1 residents, please write or phone me (301-873-8225) if you have questions or concerns.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Frederick Schultz

Neighbors:

THIS IS A HEADS-UP!!  Next Monday evening, 10/22, will see an important and probably controversial meeting of the city council. I expect the City's auditorium will be crowded.

There will be four (4) public hearings. The last three will be combined into one hearing.

(1)  A public hearing on Agenda Item 2 ---- the proposed "permit parking zone" in New Hampshire Gardens that would, if approved, cause signs to be posted by the City on certain streets prohibiting on-street parking from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. seven days a week, without a parking permit sticker on your car window.

Followed by these next three in combination:

(2)  A public hearing on Agenda Item 3 ---- an Amendment to Article VII of the Takoma Park Charter to:

        (1) Establish a residency requirement for the City Manager; and

        (2) Require Council confirmation of the City Manager's Appointment of Deputy City Manager and City department heads.

(3)  A public hearing on Agenda Item 4 ---- an Ordinance Amending the City's Code to establish a residency requirement or a residency preference in the selection of Executive Employees AND to require the City Manager to consult with & seek the advice of the Council when hiring Executive Employees.

(4)  A public hearing on Agenda Item 5 ---- an Ordinance Amending the City's Code to formalize the Council's oversight of the City Manager's selection of Executive Employees and to incentivize such employees to live in the City.

WHY CONTROVERSIAL?

        There are multiple proposals on how and whether to establish a role for the City Council in hiring senior staff and whether and how to establish residency requirements or preferences for senior staff.

        Amending the City Charter will have a drastic impact on the city's ability to recruit candidates for the top positions in the city, including the city manager. Allowing the Council to confirm (i.e., to give approval of) the manager's preferred choice of department heads will reduce applications for the city manager job by an estimated 50%, according to the City's hired executive recruiting consultant, Mercer & Associates. The absolute residency requirement will reduce that percentage even more.

        I have offered compromise solutions that will address each of these issues in a simpler way without having to amend the City Charter. These compromises are reflected in Agenda Items 3 & 4. (For more details on the substance of these issues, see my October 7 email to you labeled "Top Issues for the City Council.")

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Since a large crowd is expected:
-- Everyone who wishes to speak must sign the Sign-In sheet and, at your option, answer questions on your views.  This will be in the lobby. See the attached copy of the Sign-In sheet.
-- Get there early, sign the sign-in sheet and find a good seat.
-- The NHG permit parking zone (Item 2) will be heard first.
-- Speakers will speaker in the order they sign up.
-- Speakers should address Items 3, 4 and 5 at the same time.
-- The 3-minute limit will be enforced, says the Mayor.
-- No one will be able to come back to the podium for a second turn.
-- Council members will limit their own comments in order to help speed things along.

REMEMBER YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT TO US on this matter because the Council is split 3 to 4 on the need to make these changes permanent and mandatory by amending the Charter. Also, we must get this matter resolved so we can proceed with selecting our new city manager.

PLAN on staying seated after the public hearing for Councilmembers' debate on the Charter change issues.

Any questions, please call me at 301-434-7090 or send me an email.

Thank you for participating.

Fred

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