NEVADA CITY, Calif. December 2, 2019 – At an early morning special meeting, in a rather chilly Seaman’s Lodge, Nevada City’s elected council members and staff participated in a session dedicated to governance training, presented by Gerry Preciado.
Some twenty-five members of the public braved the rain and listened to the facilitator reminding the council that their priority is to maintain public trust and acting in the best interest of the public is of paramount importance.
Preciado stated he conducted phone interviews with all council members ahead of the session. He referred electeds and public to the League of California Cities resources and emphasized once a decision/vote by the governing body is made, the city’s position should be clearly articulated by all members. However, stating a minority opinion is acceptable, as long as it is prefaced by a disclaimer i.e. “this is not the city’s position, just my personal opinion.”
Inviting council members to check their public statements by asking themselves “does this benefit the city or me?” After this illustration of the cui bono principle Preciado laid out another principle of good governance: moving forward.
Only making an oblique reference to the reason for the workshop – a motion by Vicemayor Minett to censure Mayor Senum or remove her as mayor – Preciado stated that it’s OK to disagree but dwelling on the past will not advance any goals of either the collective, the individuals or the city.
‘Collective’ appears to be one of Preciado’s favorite terms, with multiple references to policies created by the collective, the collective energy focusing on moving the city forward etc. But lest anyone compare the council to Star Trek’s Borg collective, Preciado reminded the council members that disagreeing on an issue is not inherently bad.
The presentations will be available later on the city’s website for anyone to peruse.
December 10 Council meeting will not be moved to another date
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The second item on the agenda, an addition to the original agenda, was a request to consider changing the city council meeting date from Tuesday, Dec. 10 to Thursday, Dec. 12. Council member Strawser stated he had been approached by unspecified media outlets and members of the public wanting to attend both the Grass Valley and the Nevada City council meetings. He also cited an inability by Nevada County Media to cover both meetings via livestreaming on the government access channels.
Regular Grass Valley City Council meetings take place on Tuesday evenings. During their last meeting, the council voted unanimously to move the Nevada City meeting from the regular Wednesday date to Tuesday because of the Victorian Christmas event on Wednesdays in December.
Members of the public commented on the item and voiced their opposition to moving the much-anticipated last meeting of the year. City Attorney Hal DeGraw clarified that any changes to the city’s 5G connectivity ordinance would not be on the agenda for the meeting.
Strawser’s motion to move the meeting was not seconded by any of his colleagues. In government parlance, the motion died for lack of a second.
All council members were present at the 8:30 am kickoff. Vice Mayor Erin Minett and Council member Strawser left after both items on the agenda were dispensed with and missed part of the public comment, which concerned some of the public in attendance.