Friday, May 20, 2016
NorCo Council Discusses Angels Dancing on the Head of a Pin
President John Cusick nevertheless prepared a resolution for Council approval. Solicitor Phil Lauer advised that, unless confirmed within 60 days, this Acting Director position could actually be considered a permanent appointment.
Watching the video from my estate, I began to detect a "How many angels can danceonthe head of a pin" tone about this argument.
The reality is that NorCo's DCED is in disarray,and considering its important community development functions, this is a bad thing for those who are hungry or seeking a roof over their head.. So far as i know, the Department has produced no economic development.
Rather than addressing these very real issues, Cusick is crafting resolutions and everyone is talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Brown explained that, in his view, an acting director is a bridge that provides continuity in a department until a permanent director is found. He indicated that Herrlinger is a "potential" cabinet official, but has not "fully made that decision. He stated that what is doing is specifically provided for in the employee policy manual, which was approved by Council last year. That manual gives him the authority to appoint an Acting Director for no longer than six months, without the approval of Council. He said that requiring him to seek confirmation for even an interim position "really cripples the administration's ability" .to get things done
Ken Kraft agreed with Brown, and criticized Council for "just doing things to do things."
Everything said by Phil Lauer is valid, but if Council approved the employee policy manual, it necessarily follows that they gave the Executive the authority to make interim appointments.
Like Kraft, I agree with Brown's argument, but it hinges on Council approving the employee policy manual.
Last year, in what I then called a clinic on good government, former Executive Gerald "Jerry" Seyfried said that Council needed to approve the career service regulations upon which the employee policy manual is based and have not done so.
So far as I can tell, that still has not happened. I have looked through the minutes and doi not see it, but if it is there, Brown is right.
But the academic discussion over how long an Executive can appoint someone to a cabinet position is somewhat silly in view of the problems at DCED.
Hayden Phillips thankfully suggested tabling the matter because Council obviously needs to do more homework. Amazingly, John Cusick, Mat Benol and Seth Vaughn wanted to plunge ahead in darkness. They like discussing these fine points that, in the big picture, are meaningless.
Herrlinger's appointment, whether it needs to be approved or not, will wait until the next meeting.
Brown has also promised to have the Department of Community and Economic Development staff available at the June 3 meeting, to explain exactly what they've been doing. That would seem to be a little more important than the minutiae in which Council is absorbed.