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Council warm to idea of public safety workshops
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An idea of Vice Mayor Couper Condit’s to have the city hold public workshops regarding public safety is something the City Council would like to explore.

Condit suggested that the workshops would allow the citizens of Ceres to get a better understanding of the workings of dispatchers, code enforcement, the fines process, police matters and more. Last week the council agreed to talk about the matter on a future agenda.

”I’m in favor of this concept,” said Councilman Bret Silveira, “but I think we probably need to put it off for a couple of meetings at least, maybe three, to give the Police Department the ability to put together  what they think they would look like and then come to us then.”

The matter is expected to come back in November.

The council was also agreeable to Condit’s suggestion that the Beautification Committee continue meeting.

Acting City Manager Alex Terrazas said ad hoc committees must have a limited life, otherwise be governed by the Brown Act, however, another year extension is reasonable.

Condit said that some on the committee believed that the charge of their group was over.

“I think they should have a regular meeting schedule so they can accomplish things and suggest things to the council,” said Condit.

City Attorney Nubia Goldstein said an ad hoc committee can meet routinely within the scope of what the council ordered. She suggested that at some point the committee should wrap up and make one last report to the council.

In August 2020 the committee issued recommendations to the council, some of which were acted upon. Terrazas recommended that the Beautification Committee meet and come up with thoughts about its future and report to the council.

Another of Condit’s suggestions for an agenda topic which was flatly rejected in January was rejected again last week.

As required by the state, the city’s Conflict of Interest code is intended to prevent employees and elected officials from financially benefitting from a project or contract with the city for a year after leaving office or ending employment, whichever applies. Condit wants to see former city managers and city councilmembers banned, for a period of eight years, from certain business dealings with the city. Earlier this year, Condit failed to convince the council that an eight-year ban is warranted. It ended in a 2-2 vote tie. With a complete council, Condit again floated his idea last week but the council majority wasn’t interested in placing it on the agenda.

Opposed to Condit’s idea were the four others on the council – Mayor Javier Lopez, Silveira, Councilwoman Linda Ryno and Councilman James Casey.

Ryno commented that she would like to see the confusion cleared up about how a councilmember can get items placed on the agenda. She said the idea gets mentioned at one meeting, placed on another meeting to see if a consensus agrees to agendize it and then the actual consideration at a third meeting. Ryno suggested eliminating an unnecessary meeting in the process – which ironically has to be placed on the agenda to be considered by the council.

Silveira said he’s fine with the process and said it was crafted to give the council two weeks’ time to think about considerations. Ryno said plenty of time is given without the extra step.

The matter may come up again in the future but no specific consensus was reached.