Survey says, commissioners can live outside city
Colusa became the 12th city – of the 105 surveyed by the League of California Cities – to allow planning commissioners to live outside the town limits.
The council voted 3-2 Tuesday night, with Councilwomen Donna Critchfield and Kay Hosmer dissenting, to allow up to two commissioners who live within two miles of the city limits to sit on the panel.
The same standard will be applied to all of the city’s commissions and committees except for the Recreation Commission, which has a requirement the member live within the larger Colusa Unified School District boundary.
“I hope you will reconsider what we are doing here,” said Critchfield, who noted the League survey to show that most cities do not view non-residency as the right thing to do.
“You know my strong feelings about this,” she said. “I believe if you want to serve on our Planning Commission, you need to live in the city.”
She did not persuade the majority, which has followed Councilman Tom Reische’s position that there are many qualified people on the city outskirts that have a vested interest in the city.
The face of the issue has been Planning Commissioner Richard Selover, who recently moved outside the city, but maintains a residence in town and owns a business in Colusa.
Reische also has argued the council has final say on who is appointed, and can remove any commissioner it feels is not working in the city’s best interest.
The vote was a change of direction for Hosmer, who favored the ordinance when it was introduced on March 6.
Then again, that was a change from what had been her previous position of opposing commissioners who were not city residents.
What surprised many is she cited an online survey by the Colusa County Sun-Herald that showed the majority of responders wanted city residents on the commission.
The survey is not scientific, and does not prevent one person from voting multiple times if he or she has access from different computers. Nor does it prevent people outside the area from voting.
“I had pretty much changed (my mind) to bring continuity,” Hosmer said Wednesday, referring to continuity of how all commissions are handled.
However, she said she has been upset with some of the planning commissioners, and heard additional information that brought her back to her original position.
“The (commissioner) poll would not have made a difference after the information I received. It was just part of my fact-finding,” said Hosmer, who did not elaborate.
Hosmer’s detractors, though not specifically on this issue, pounced on her use of the survey in an attempt to box her up for when the economic development consultant’s contract comes up for consideration next month.
A survey by the paper shows a huge majority of responders favor ending that contract.
Hosmer, admitting it may have been a mistake to cite the commission survey, said she does not feel obligated to vote one way or another on the consultant’s contract because of the related online poll.
“I don’t see any connection,” Hosmer said.
Moreover, she insisted she has not made up her mind.
Hosmer, along with Critchfield and Mayor Pat Landreth, have been staunch supporters of the city’s economic development efforts.
Part of that program is the consultant contract that pays Mark Mayuga nearly $8,000 a month, plus some expenses.
That contract has come under fire since mid-January, when Kelleher and Mayuga had what has been described as a heated exchange during a closed session that had been called to discuss City Manger Jan McClintock’s job performance.
Council members have confirmed the discussion went far afield from the agendized purpose, including the Kelleher-Mayuga exchange. That apparent Brown Act violation has yet to be addressed publicly by the city.