Members of the Ceres City Council rejected a motion by Councilmember Linda Ryno on Monday to reduce the vice mayor's term from two years to a year.
The issue came up as the council was updating its set of rules and procedures that were first enacted in 1976 and updated in 1993, 2007 and 2013. The council has changed its meeting time from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the past year and rolled over study sessions into regular meetings. The new rules also reflect the recent voter approved council districts.
Ryno asked why appointments to vice mayor were every two years and not every year. City Manager Toby Wells assumed that it was because of tradition and since the council elections have been held every other year.
"Other cities do it every year as well," said Ryno.
"It's just your custom and practice," offered City Attorney Tom Hallinan. "It's true that most (cities) are for one year but apparently you're two."
However, current Vice Mayor Mike Kline suggested it was because until recently voters were electing the mayor for two years at a time.
Ceres elects its mayor every four years and typically appoints a vice mayor from among the four council members every other year. The vice mayor fills in for the mayor during absences and has succeeded the mayor upon a vacancy. Bret Durossette and Ken Lane have each served two-year terms as vice mayor and Mike Kline was recently named vice mayor. Ryno, who faces re-election in 2017, has yet to serve as vice mayor.
"I think I would like to see it be done every year," said Ryno.
That caused Kline to raise a humorous protest with Kline, who was appointed vice mayor last month.
"This is my first time so if you want to change in two years that's fine," said Kline, who drew laughter from the audience. "I mean, I'm not going to entertain a motion."
Kline was elected to the City Council in 2011 and Ryno in 2013.
Mayor Chris Vierra said he tries to rotate everyone through the chair to give them a chance to serve but said he was willing to see an immediate change to a one-year term. He asked Ryno if she would be willing to compromise and make the change at the conclusion of Kline's two-year term at the end of 2017. "I don't agree with that," she said. Ryno motioned to make the term one year but it failed with Durossette, Kline and Lane opposing.
Durossette recommended that the change be considered at the end of 2017. All but Ryno supported the motion.
After the meeting Ryno said she supported the shorter term by saying: "Since the procedures had not been updated in so many years and the city manager brought it to the council, it seemed the right time to ask for a change that would bring the selection of vice mayor in line with other cities in the region."
With council members Durossette and Kline embarking on their new four-year terms, Mayor Vierra reviewed committee assignments which mostly stay the same.
Ryno serves on the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children, Tuolumne River Regional Park Committee and is an alternate to the StanCOG Policy Board.
Kline serves on the Concerts in the Park Committee and StanCOG Policy Board.
Vierra serves on the Alliance board, County-City Selection Committee, East Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Program, the Executive Committee of the Central Valley Division of the League of California Cities, Local Emergency Planning Committee, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and the Surface Water Joint Powers Authority Board.
Lane is assigned to the Christmas Festival Committee, the City-School Committee, East Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Program, Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Whitmore House Preservation Committee and the Stanislaus Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance.
Durossette serves on the Ceres Youth Commission, Volunteer Firefighter Length-of-Service Qualification Review Committee, the City-School Committee, Concerts in the Park Committee and is an alternate to both the Surface Water Joint Powers Authority Board and the League's Central Valley Division Executive Committee.
Vierra said with Modesto out of the picture leaving only Ceres and Turlock in the quest to build a surface water project he wants three members on the Surface Water JPA Board. Vierra already serves and Durossette is the alternative. The mayor said only he and Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth were on the board and noted "that doesn't work too well." Lane volunteered to serve. The Turlock City Council will also appoint another board member.
The meetings are held at 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month in Turlock.
The group is getting started on ordering environmental work and studying funding to build the surface water plant near Fox Grove Park on the Tuolumne River.