Part I - Lots of Talk on Public Outreach, Little Action by Charter Commission

One of the feuds between the Elk Grove City Council and The Elk Grove City Charter Commission has been public outreach. That particular feu...

One of the feuds between the Elk Grove City Council and The Elk Grove City Charter Commission has been public outreach. That particular feud reached a boiling point during the December 9, 2009 city council meeting.

At that meeting, council member Jim Cooper took the charter commission to task for having little documented evidence of public outreach. Citing a document filed with the city clerks office on November 3 showing the commission held 39 meetings attended by 397 people during 2009, Cooper chided the commissioners.

Responding to the assertions, Commissioner Jake Rambo and Cooper became involved in a verbal joust.

(See video here, or on second page of this post.)

Subsequent to that meeting, Charter Commission Chair Jake Allen said in a letter to the city council “the commission took it upon themselves to begin the outreach early; however, the City Council redirected the Commission to not focus on outreach at all.”

A review of the Elk Grove City Charter Commission meeting minutes shows that while the commission did indeed talk about conducting public outreach on a frequent basis since its inception, there was little follow-up.

As recent as the December 7, 2009 meeting, Commissioner Damon Mireski reported “that he had spoken to many people over the last several weeks and that majority said they never heard of the charter.”

EGN has reviewed minutes of all the charter commission meetings dating to its first on June 17, 2008. Below is a brief summary from all of the available minutes from 2008 that includes discussion of public outreach and specific outreach efforts.

The charter commission voted unanimously to study the feasibility of conducting a telephone survey. Former Commissioner Farley expressed a desire to conduct focus group meetings.

City staff reported on possibility of conducting a telephone survey. City attorney Susan Cochran said cost to produce a statistically valid survey would be approximately $24,000.

Commission Chair Jake Allen reported he received phone calls in response to an outreach letter he had mailed. The number of letters sent was not specified. Allen said he had booked two speaking engagements regarding the charter in August, 2008 and that interest had been expressed by Sheldon area groups.

7/29, 8/12 and 8/26/2008
Meeting minutes not available online.

Commission heard presentations from four public relations firms from a request for proposal generated by city staff for public outreach.

Commission narrowed field of firms for public outreach contract to two firms.

Commission recommends the Hoyt Company be selected to facilitate public outreach.

Commission approved scope of activities outlined by The Hoyt Company for charter commission public outreach. Commissioner Jake Rambo said he had talked to an unspecified “taxpayer group in the community who was in favor of adding existing state laws regarding taxpayer protection into city charter.”

Commission Vice Chair Christopher Orrock, along with Commissioner Clifford Loveland attended the Grant Line/Highway 99 event and the grand opening of the Sizzler restaurant and at both events “introduced himself as a charter commissioner.”

Allen reported phone survey results indicated voters not in favor of strong-mayor form of city government. Allen also reported he gave a presentation to the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce (EGCC) Board of Directors.

Commissioner Jimmie Johnson reported initial public outreach efforts should focus on structure of city council. Orrock asked the EGCC to introduce charter commission members at future meetings. Allen reported he made a presentation to the EGCC Board of Directors.

Rambo suggested the Hoyt Company provide a presentation at the commissions December 16, 2008 meeting on public outreach efforts. Allen said Commissioner Juanita Sendajas-Lopez spoke with Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Steven Ladd regarding student involvement in the charter process.

Krista Day of The Hoyt Company gave an overview of their “public outreach schedule of activities.” Rambo suggested a strategy that would start with small group meetings leading to a large kick-off in March, 2009.

Allen said he attended meetings with the EGCC and The North State Building industry Association and local service clubs in February, 2009. Rambo said he would schedule a meeting with the Elk Grove Police Officers Association in January, 2009.

Allen urged commissioners to maintain a presence on the Elk Grove Online web site.

Orrock said he attended library opening and expressed concern that he had not been recognized or introduced.

Rambo v. Cooper

Part II - a review of 2009 meeting minutes

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