Wednesday, May 20, 2015

City Council Votes Against Reappointing Planning Commision Member

To All COLA LO Members,

Last night the city council voted against reappointing planning commissioner Todd Prager.  The selection committee recommended that he be reappointed but Mayor Kent Studebaker overrode the recommendation on the council agenda.   Many questioned why the mayor recommended moving forward with an alternative that conflicted with the selection committee.

The agenda item can be found here 5/19 Council Agenda item 7.1 and the video should soon be available where the Mayor explains that he did not believe Mr. Prager had the city's best interest at heart Council 5/19 Video.

The mayor went into some detail citing that the lawsuit against the City of Lake Oswego in which Mr. prager is a plaintiff was not in the best interests of city.   A recent article on the details can be found here Lake Access Lawsuit.   The Mayor also mentioned that the City of Tigard was considering an ordinance that would require appointed members to resign if they were in a lawsuit against the city.  

No doubt this decision will involve controversy.    Councilors Gustafson and Buck argued that Mr. Prager had a constitutional right to his opinion and even if he disagreed with the city that did not disqualify him from being re-appointed as  a planning commissioner.  

Councilor Bowerman voiced a strong level of disagreement with Councilor Gustafson's recent social media posting about the decision by the Mayor not to recommend a reappointment.    Its clear the Mayor took a firm stand recommending against reappointment because he believed the lawsuit constituted a conflict of interest.

What many have forgotten is that in the last act of his administration Mayor Hoffman overrode the entire recommendation of the selection committee to appoint 3 members to the budget committee Collins-Manz-Berg  on 12/18/2012 and tried to stack the budget committee with 3 entirely different appointees to influence the future direction of the city.    This was supported in a 4-3 vote (Hoffman, Tierney, Jordan, Moncrieff)  for the move against a vote by Councilors Kehoe, Gudman, and Olson.    NO reason whatsoever was cited by then Mayor Hoffman for voting this way and Councilor Jordan claimed she felt overwhelmed by the other members of the selection committee when she decided to vote against her own recommendation.  

So its clear precedent has been set in this area.    The vote last night was 3-2.   Councilors Gudman, Bowerman, and O'Neill voting for the recommended appointments and Councilors Buck and Gustafson voting against it.   The mayor abstained and Councilor Manz was absent.  

It will be interesting to see how this action is reported in the media.  

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.  

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