March 27, 2008

Nardine Not the Only Appointee With Problematic Attendance

As detailed previously, Marcene Nardine was removed from the San Leandro Planning Commission on March 3, 2008. According to City Spokeswoman Jane McCrea in the Daily Review, Nardine was removed because she had missed five of the 12 Planning Commission meetings since she was appointed by Mayor Tony Santos in March 2007.

According to the section on Boards and Commissions in the City Council Handbook, commissioners are required to attend not less than 75% of all regular meetings. Nardine's attendance record was 58%.

In her defense, Nardine stated that she knew that other commissioners have missed meetings as well. But during the same time period, no other Planning Commissioner missed more than three meetings, which is equivalent to an attendance rate of 75%.

On the Board of Zoning Adjustments, Melody Marr, who represents District 2, has missed nine out of 21 meetings held since January 2007, or an attendance rate of 52%, well below the 75% attendance rate required of commissioners and board members. However, attendance records are reviewed annually by the City Council in June for the previous 12 months from June 1 to May 31, and during this time from 2006 to 2007, Marr's attendance rate was 81%. When asked about Marr's subsequent attendance rate, District 2 Councilmember Surlene Grant said that she did make a previous attempt to replace Marr, but the applicant for the position withdrew, so Grant reappointed Marr, and no one else has applied for the position.

Fellow BZA member Amanda Goldt, who represents District 6, missed three meetings in a row from March to May 2007. The City Council Handbook states, "Failure by a member to attend three consecutive regular meetings of a board or commission will be cause for Council declaring the member’s position vacant." However that wasn't done, likely in part to Councilmember Jim Prola having just been appointed to the City Council in February 2007. When asked about Goldt's attendance, Prola said that he wasn't familiar with the attendance policy at the time, but noted that Goldt has had a good attendance record since then.

Each Councilmember and the Mayor can appoint one person each to the Board of Zoning Adjustments and the Planning Commission. These commissioners and board members serve at the pleasure of the Councilmembers and Mayor and can be removed, in theory, at any time. Whether or not a commissioner or board member is removed depends on a number of factors, including whether the Councilmember or Mayor is vigilant and whether there are applicants that could replace the commissioner or board member.

Councilmembers frequently complain about the lack of applicants for these appointments, which is partly why some commissioners have served for more than 20 years. If you are interested in serving the City of San Leandro, descriptions of these boards and commissions and an application to be appointed to them are available here.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at March 27, 2008 9:51 PM | TrackBack
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