There will soon be a set of guidelines for Encinitas city councilmembers who serve on subcommittees.
In a 4-1 vote with Encinitas City Councilwoman Teresa Barth opposed, Council directed staff to add the guidelines to the city’s administrative policy.
The city does not have any such guidelines in place—however, the when Barth and Deputy Mayor Kristin Gaspar served on a subcommittee together. Gaspar claimed that Barth acted “inappropriately” because she spoke to city staff about ad hoc matters while Gaspar was not present.
The new guidelines will focus on three points:
- All discussions involving city staff will happen within an ad hoc committee setting.
- The ad hoc committee will sign off on the staff report before it’s brought back to council.
- The ad hoc committee will only address topics discussed by the full council.
Wednesday night Barth said she would like to see those guidelines involve the public. She cited examples in San Francisco where similar meetings with elected officials allow the public to participate, and the residents can review minutes to better understand how a decision was reached.
“What we’re talking about are significant issues that the public should be involved in,” Barth said.
Councilmembers Bond, Muir, Stocks and Gaspar said they felt that would overcomplicate the process.
“I don’t have an interest in crafting a new burdensome policy when to my knowledge, I’ve been the only one to report an issue with subcommittee work,” Gaspar said.
“Ad hoc committees are formed to try and take care of things in a short period of time so that we don’t need to go through a cumbersome process,” Bond said. “I think this transparency thing is getting people involved in the process before the public process begins.”
Councilmembers will have an opportunity to review the draft of guidelines before they are added to the city’s administrative policy. If any councilmember has an issue with those drafted guidelines, he or she can request that the topic be added a future city council agenda.
In other reportable action: