Mayor Baum and members of council,
I think it may behoove you to sort out a situation with the Election Committee (EC) sooner rather than later. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of whether they should continue to be a quasi-judicial body or not, the EC plans on spending every week for the next several weeks working on multiple scenarios that include both options. You could really save them a lot of time and effort, and allow them to get to the more important work of fixing problems with the LFCPA, if you’d just give them the direction on this one way or the other.
I attended the Friday Feb 19th meeting and it was an interesting and lively discussion, but it took up 3 hours and little else was worked on. While they did take a vote that there should be some quasi-judicial aspect to the LFCPA, they would not vote on whether or not it should be the EC that is the quasi-judicial instrument. The other option would be to use a 3 member Election Commission, which I believe is spelled out in the City Charter. Or just letting the municipal court handle it completely.
I definitely got the sense from nearly every member that they no longer wanted to be judge and jury, and other than one member (and at least one council member) everyone should agree that $40,000 for what was accomplished is not acceptable and should not occur in the future under any circumstances. This is not the “price for democracy”, and the excuse that things like this cost a lot in the beginning just doesn’t hold up as nothing positive came out of spending that unwarranted amount of money – other than fattening lawyers wallets.
So I strongly suggest you make life a little easier on them and their time and decide, a) should the EC continue in a quasi-judicial role, b) if not, should an Election Commission take over that role, or c) neither a nor b and let the City Clerk and City Attorney just turn over all valid complaints to the municipal court.
On a related matter is the issue of the EC’s meeting times and dates. On the City Clerks website it says they meet the “third Monday of each month at 6:30pm.” This is fairly typical of most city boards and committees. But instead they are all over the map: this last meeting was on a Friday at 2pm, and the next 5 or so will be on Mondays at 2pm. None are scheduled on a Monday at 6:30pm. I’ve been to enough meetings to know that they are not trying to hide anything from the public with this schedule; they just have a lot of work to do. That doesn’t mean other members of the public will see it the same way.
Most people I know work Mondays at 2pm, could any of you make one of those meetings? I know I won’t be able to attend anymore, and other than Rich Yale, no one else attends these meetings, which is a shame. Like anything else, education is key, and the more the public knew about the work related to this important issue, the better off we would all be.