homepage logo

Financial advisory committee’s future in city council hands

By Staff | Apr 17, 2009

After the surprising resignation Monday of the financial advisory committee’s chairman, and one member calling for the committee to disband, Mayor Jim Burch wants to shore up the status of the troubled board.
“We don’t want it hanging in limbo,” he said.
When Michael Foye resigned the seven-member committee was already short one member, following Gloria Baron’s move to the East Coast earlier this year.
Committee member Cheryl Peppers suggested dissolving the board in a memo to council members Wednesday.
She claims that the committee’s advice is not used much by council members, and that replacing two members in the midst of an arduous budget process would be difficult.
Neither Peppers nor Foye could be reached for comment Thursday.
Councilmember Dolores Bertolini mentioned disbanding the committee as an option during Monday’s council meeting, but stated that it is not her preferred course of action.
“I brought it to the council’s attention because of what I heard Monday,” she said, referring to Foye’s resignation.
However, adding two new members is not necessarily ideal.
“If they’ve never done a government budget before, they’re going to be way behind,” Bertolini said.
One option for the committee would be to continue with five members for the current budget process, but the minimum quorum required to conduct committee meetings is four.
“I’m quite OK with it operating as five, provided they can all meet the requirements,” Burch said.
Councilmember Bill Deile said he values the committee’s work in helping develop the budget and values their suggestions, even if they cannot be used at the time.
“Their suggestions may not be something you can take action on this year, but they’re something you can look at long term, such as (employee) legacy costs,” he said.
Council members are taking a more hands-on approach to the budget this year, conducting monthly workshops while trying to trim at least $10 million from the budget.
Bertolini said the workshops still cannot take the place of the committee.
“I think the FAC (financial advisory committee) enhances what we’re doing now with the budget workshops,” she said.
Council members are scheduled to vote on the committee’s future during their meeting Monday.