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City Charter up for 10-year review

Raise in mayor's stipend, term limit increase among issues discussed
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Future Roseville mayors may see an extra $200 coming their way if the city council opts to place the proposed Charter change on the November 2010 ballot. The extra stipend for the mayor is just one of the proposed changes that have been made by residents, business owners and interest groups to the city’s Charter. “Every 10 years the Charter is reopened to make changes so that the city is concurrent with state laws and to keep the city laws and processes up to date,” said Roseville City Clerk Sonia Orozco. The Charter, which acts like Roseville’s constitution, was adopted and put into place in 1955. Since its adoption, the city has regularly reopened the Charter for modification. Council appointed an eight-member Charter Review Commission that has met monthly since last March to hear requests. “The only way the Charter can be changed is by a vote of the people,” said Charter Commissioner Rex Clark. “We take the requests into consideration and at the end of the year process make our final recommendations to council.” If the council agrees with the commission’s recommendations, the proposed changes will be put on the ballot for the general election on Nov.2, 2010. While a majority of the Charter changes include cleaning up language, grammar and inconsistencies, other proposed changes that could make their way into voters’ hands include increasing the mayor’s stipend, extending council term limits and how council fills vacancies. Councilman Jim Gray broached the subject of the mayor’s stipend at the September Charter Review meeting proposing the increase go into effect in 2012 to be consistent with cities of comparable population. Currently Mayor Gina Garbolino receives $650 a month to attend meetings, make appearances at city events and various other duties as mayor. Other council members receive $600 a month for their service to the city. “I think $50 extra is just insulting for the time commitment involved,” Gray said. “I’d like to see more than $200 because that’s certainly what’s deserved.” Roseville residents Clay Kowart and Jack Wallace have spoken at Charter Review meetings against raising council members’ stipends. Wallace said he feels that because the positions are voluntary and part-time the current $600 stipend for council members that has been in place for several years is fair. “Talk to city council members and they’ll tell you it’s a public service or that they’re giving back to the community so why should they get paid any more?” Wallace said. Wallace has also been outspoken about not increasing council term limits, a request that was brought to the Charter Commission to bump the current two consecutive term limitation to three. “I suggested the idea of doing away with term limits altogether,” Clark said. “The voters determine term limits each time they vote.” Clark said doing away with term limits would allow council members to gaining prominence in other organizations like the California League of Cities that would otherwise be more difficult. “I’m opposed to extending the term limits, but I think all of the issues should be placed on the ballot for the people to vote,” Wallace said. “It’s our Charter. Shouldn’t we have more of a say in it? Why does the (Charter Commission) get to decide what we can and can’t vote on?” The Charter Review Commission has two more scheduled meetings until a completed report of the recommended changes will be made in February. After the completed report is made, the Charter Commission will hold two public meetings for citizens to make final recommendations or comment on the report before it goes to council for approval in April. The recommended changes that council accepts will then be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 2, 2010 general election. Know and Go Let your voice be heard at the next Charter review meeting Monday, Dec. 21 5:30-7:30 p.m Civic Center meeting rooms 1&2 See copies of the Charter and previous meetings’ minutes at Roseville.ca.us Click on the A-Z index, then Charter