CRC doubles up

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The meetings will be held on Monday and Thursday

By Special to the Monitor

The Charter Review Committee (CRC) will hold two meetings next week. The first meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers, in order to review the recommendations of its first Issues Analysis Subcommittee working on “Poor Communications, Transparency and Engagement” solutions. The subcommittee will present its list of possible solutions to the full CRC for discussion and feedback.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Pajarito Room of Fuller Lodge, the full CRC will hear a report from its second Issues Analysis Subcommittee working on possible solutions to “Voter Control Over Capital Projects” followed by discussion and feedback.

Both meetings are open to the public and citizen input about the solutions lists is encouraged. Public comment on the lists will be open from April 16 through June 7. The CRC will not be holding any meetings of the full committee in May. Their next regular meeting is scheduled for June 7, when they will review all feedback submitted since April 1, and could make final recommendations about the solutions lists to forward to the council at that time.

The full CRC will give the council an update on their activities at the council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the White Rock Town hall. They will also give the council their recommendations from the “Consistency and Clarity” subcommittee for possible

charter changes that could go on the November general election ballot. These changes will be primarily to eliminate redundant language, legal wording or items that are inconsistent with State law. The Council anticipates formally proposing any Charter amendments via ordinance in accordance with Charter Section 900.1(1).

The CRC is advisory to council; charter amendments must be approved by voters. The process for placing proposed charter amendment questions on a ballot is lengthy. Formal consideration by Council of any amendments to be proposed at the November 2010 general election must occur by May.

For this reason, the CRC has been asked to provide specific recommendations for changes to the charter to council by the end of April 2010.

Any additional proposed charter changes would be submitted to the voters at a later election, possibly the 2012 general election.

 In addition, the CRC will bring forward the name of a replacement member for Jim Hall on Tuesday evening. Hall recently resigned from the CRC after he announced his candidacy for a seat on the Council in November’s election.

At their meeting last week, the CRC voted to have Kyle Wheeler as their recommended replacement for Hall.

Wheeler had been one of the applicants considered by Council last November. Any final appointment of a replacement would be up to the council.

The CRC is a committee of nine council-appointed citizens who were tasked last November to conduct a comprehensive review of the County Charter with a goal to provide options and recommendations to the council for potential changes.

The charter was last reviewed in 1994/1995. According to a set of “guiding principles” adopted by the Council, specific subjects for review may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

Form of government

Role of political parties and affiliation in local elections:

Utilities — relationship to general county government, board terms, rate setting processes, financial policies; and

Boards and Commissions — potential different treatment of boards with authority vs. purely advisory boards, considerations in selection of board members, etc.

Financial policies — permanent funds, voter approval requirements for certain projects and CIP projects

Election process(es)

Initiative, referendum, recall and petition requirements and procedures:

Public notice and publication requirements — modernization; and

Consistency with current State and Federal constitutions and statutes.

The CRC’s review is expected to continue through the end of 2010, or Council could suspend its work earlier. A decision to continue the CRC into 2011 or beyond will be made by the council seated in January 2011.

The CRC has a county-hired attorney, County-appointed staff, funding and resources — all authorized by the Council to assist the CRC with their review.

The CRC’s goal is to conduct its work with the highest level of transparency. It desires extensive public involvement, including educational and facilitated forums, informal interactions with CRC members and various opportunities and venues for feedback held in both Los Alamos and White Rock.

The CRC is interested in hearing directly from citizens about charter changes that they feel are important for the county’s future.

Members of the public are welcome to give the CRC feedback in a variety of venues:

Drop off comments at the 311 Customer Care Center (150 Central Park Square);

E-mail them to the Committee at crcinput@lacnm.us;

Mail them or drop them off to: Jackie Salazar, Los Alamos County, 133 Central Park Square;

Attend regular committee meetings — public comment is accepted at the beginning and end of each meeting; and

The public can learn more about the CRC members, view meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, updates, related documents and more — or take a short “Charter Survey” — at www.losalamosnm.us under the Projects/Council

Projects link.