Council Meeting Recap: Apr. 20, 2021
All council members were present for the Tuesday, April 20 City Council meeting. Open session started at 6:07 p.m. and ended at 9:56 p.m. Here are the highlights:
Option to adopt Charter Amendment changing City Clerk and City Treasurer from Elected to Appointed positions spurs comment from current Treasurer. Following the departure of the City Clerk, the council discussed options on how to fill this important vacancy. Assistant to the City Manager Michawl George introduced a possible option for a Charter Amendment to switch the City Clerk and City Treasurer from elected to appointed positions. City Treasurer, Monica Cooper, opposed the idea in a public comment stating, "The Treasurer serves at the will of the people for a 4 year term. With an appointment process, the Treasurer will serve at the will of the City Manager,[...] which would result in the weakening of the stability of the Treasury department and introduce greater opportunity of theft, fraud, and embezzlement. I believe it is best that the residents of Carson maintain their right to elect those who they want to oversee their tax dollars and their city records." Cooper proposed that the council should instead focus on solving internal conflict, "However, I suggest that instead of the City Manager spending time trying to change elected positions to appointed, that perhaps there should be more focus placed on solving problems that currently plague city hall. Such as low employee morale which I have observed become an increasing problem over the last two years. Also the inconsistent application of city policies and procedures especially as it relates to HR. And lastly, improvement is greatly needed on the treatment of all employees with respect and decency. The bullying, the threatening, the disrespect, the blackballing of employees that I have witnessed is unlike anything I have seen in my 20 year government service." After the council could not agree on whether to appoint Jerry Groomes or Yolanda Chavez to the vacant City Clerk position, the council ultimately continued the item to the next council meeting but motioned to accept the former City Clerk's letter of resignation and declare the position vacant. The city has 60 days to appoint either a successor or an interim clerk, or announce a special election. According to the Assistant to the City Manager, an election for the city clerk position will cost the city around $443,000.
City Clerk Department understaffed. Appointment of Interim Chief Deputy City Clerk put on Pause. A decision to appoint an Interim Chief Deputy City Clerk were put off to the next regular Council meeting. With the recent resignation of the City Clerk on Apr 11, the department is currently run by only two employees. Human Resources Director Fay Mosely introduced a set of resolutions that would appoint the City of Irvine's former City Clerk Molly McLaughlin Perry as the Interim Chief Deputy City Clerk. Councilmember Jawane Hilton openly opposed the resolutions, pointing out that recent new hires have not come from within the city. He asserted that Mrs. Perry does not know Carson and the majority of the work would fall on the same two employees currently running the department. The Council agreed to continue the item to the next regularly scheduled meeting to allow time for a full-time senior clerk staff to be hired.
Over $17,000 pulled from General Fund to increase Housing Rights Center and Boys and Girls Club funding. $17,672 will be allocated from the General Fund to the Boys and Girls Club and the Housing Rights Center after the council mistakenly motioned to reallocate CDBG funds. While the city will receive $782,188 of CBDG funds from the the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD mandates that max 15% (or $117,328) can be used on public service providers. The council did not realize that staff's original recommendation had already utilized that 15% for public service providers and mistakenly motioned to allocate more CBDG funds specifically to the Boys and Girls Club of Carson and the Housing Rights Center. Later in the meeting, city staff pointed out the mistake and the council agreed to pull $17,672 from the City's General Fund instead.