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APRIL 2014 |

The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities®

Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote

Smart Risk-Taking

p.12

Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority p.7 “Fun on the Run Fitness” Focuses On Youth p.17

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CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events 3 President’s Message San Francisco’s “Kindergarten to College” Program Improves the Odds For Students By José Cisneros The first publicly funded, universal children’s college savings account program in the United States has a simple yet ambitious goal: Make sure every child in San Francisco can save for post-secondary education.

6 City Forum

 Free Tools to Help With The City Budget Process By Melissa Kuehne The municipal budget process typically begins in the spring. City officials and staff can find a wide range of free materials online to assist in budget creation, financial

12 Is Your City Council

Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote Smart Risk-Taking

By Frank Benest Innovation requires risk-taking — not wild gambles, but calculated risks. Unless council members and top management create an environment that encourages “smart” risks, there will be little if any innovation regardless of how much the council desires it.

15 Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions And Disqualifications Part 1 of 2

management and more.

7 Legal Notes

 he issue of when to refrain from T participating in an agency decision can be vexing.

17 California Cities Helen Putnam Award for Excellence

 W ireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority

By Gail A. Karish

S an Clemente’s “Fun on The Run Fitness” Focuses On Youth

 he mobile recreation program visits T four low-income neighborhood areas weekly to keep children active after school with physical activities, games, crafts and nutrition education.

Wireless industry lobbyists continue to advocate before Congress, state legislators and the Federal Communications Commission that local zoning requirements are a barrier that must be cleared away. It is not too late to voice concerns, and city officials have many reasons to speak out.

19 Job Opportunities 23 Professional Services Directory

Cover Photo: Djgis/shutterstock.com


President José Cisneros Treasurer San Francisco

1400 K Street Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 658-8200 Fax (916) 658-8240

Second Vice President Katherine Miller Council Member Stockton

Immediate Past President Bill Bogaard Mayor Pasadena

Executive Director Chris McKenzie

leaguevents

Magazine Staff Editor in Chief Jude Hudson, Hudson + Associates (916) 658-8234 email: editor@westerncity.com

april 3– 4

Managing Editor Eva Spiegel (916) 658-8228 email: espiegel@cacities.org

Policy Committee Meetings, Doubletree Hotel, Ontario The League’s policy committees review issues of interest to cities statewide and make recommendations to the League board of directors.

Advertising Sales Manager Pam Maxwell-Blodgett (916) 658-8256 email: maxwellp@cacities.org

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Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting, Doubletree Hotel, Ontario The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.

Administrative Assistant Anita Lopez (916) 658-8223 email: alopez@cacities.org

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Legislative Action Day, Sacramento Get updates on legislation affecting your city, and meet with your legislators.

Contributors Dalea Fong Koreen Kelleher JoAnne Speers Patrick Whitnell

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Board of Directors’ Meeting, Sacramento The League board reviews, discusses and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.

Associate Editors Jim Carnes Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker

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Advertising Design ImagePoint Design For photo credits, see page 20. Western City (ISSN 0279-5337) is published monthly by the League of California Cities, 1400 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814. Subscriptions: $39.00/1 year; $63.00/2 years; student: $26.50; foreign: $52.00; single copies: $4.00, including sales tax. Entered as periodical mail January 30, 1930, at the Post Office, Los Angeles, CA 90013, under the Act of April 13, 1879. Periodical postage paid at Sacramento, Calif.

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Postmaster: Send address changes to Western City, 1400 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Western City Trademark Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. ©2014 League of California Cities. All rights reserved. Material may not be reprinted without written permission. This issue is Volume XC, No. 4.

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League of California Cities

City Attorneys’ Spring Conference, Indian Wells This meeting covers the latest trends and issues affecting public law practitioners and provides an opportunity to connect with colleagues.

June 19 – 20

Policy Committee Meetings, Sacramento Convention Center The League’s policy committees review issues of interest to cities statewide and make recommendations to the League board of directors.

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Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting, Sacramento Convention Center The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.

Event and registration information is available at www.cacities.org/events. For the latest information on League conferences and events, follow us on Twitter @CaCitiesLearn. For legislative and policy updates and more, follow @CaCities. Follow Western City @WesternCityMag. Join us on Facebook. www.facebook.com/westerncity www.facebook.com/LeagueofCaCities

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President’s Message by José Cisneros

San Francisco’s

“Kindergarten to College” Program Improves the Odds for Students

2010 San Francisco launched Kindergarten to College — the first publicly funded, universal children’s college savings account program in the United States. Its goal is simple, yet ambitious: to make sure every child in San Francisco can save for post-secondary education. A college degree is the price of admission to compete in the 21st century economy. The average salary of someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher is nearly three times more ($1,150 per week) than the earnings of a high-school dropout ($444). California is projected to have a severe shortage of college graduates by 2025. This lack of knowledgeable workers will be a drag on the California economy, because college-educated people are a critical part of a city’s success. They’re more likely to have jobs, open businesses and contribute to the tax base. For San Francisco, Kindergarten to College is a powerful, ongoing investment in a stronger, healthier city.

Furthermore, research shows that children with savings accounts are several times more likely to attend college than those without an account. This is true regardless of the family’s income, race or educational attainment, and savings of as little as $500 can make a big difference. Research also shows that saving has other positive effects on children

and their parents. Specifically, saving is linked to increased math scores among youth, a greater sense of financial inclusion, increased financial literacy and fiscal prudence, protection against economic shocks, and better health and educational outcomes. continued

The Numbers Tell the Story Too many students don’t make it to college. In my city, a high dropout rate greatly concerns community leaders, as it does in many cities throughout California. In the San Francisco Unified School District, the dropout rate is 17.9 percent for students overall, but 35.9 percent for African-Americans and 21.8 percent for Latinos. Dropping out of high school has steep costs — for the students themselves and for society. The unemployment rate for high-school dropouts is three times as high as it is for Californians with a bachelor’s degree. This article was adapted in part from the New America Foundation (www.Newamerica.net) report Kindergarten to College.

www.westerncity.com

Western City, April 2014

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San Francisco’s “Kindergarten to College” Program Improves the Odds for Students, continued

One in three San Francisco children will be born into families with no savings or assets of any kind. This number increases to one in two for African-American and Latino children. In a local survey, almost 100 percent of parents said they plan to save for college, but only 50 percent are actually doing so. Low-income families lack access to the savings products that build wealth. In San Francisco, 11 percent of families do not have a checking account and more than 40 percent have a subprime credit score. College costs are skyrocketing, and families will likely need to pay a bigger chunk of these costs than they have in the past.

Helping to Make College Attainable In an effort to address these issues, I joined with other city and community leaders in San Francisco to create the Kindergarten to College program. The idea behind Kindergarten to College is relatively simple: Help families start saving earlier and save more by removing barriers to opening an account and providing incentives to spur contributions. Kindergarten to College launched in the 2010–11 academic year by opening college savings accounts for more than 1,000 kindergarteners in the

Children with savings accounts are several times more likely to attend college than those without an account.

San Francisco Unified School District. The city “seeds” every account with an initial deposit of $50. Children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program receive an additional $50 deposit. This initial pilot phase rolled out in 18 schools, representing 25 percent of all kindergarten classes. In the subsequent two years, it expanded to include all children entering kindergarten in the San Francisco Unified School District, approximately 4,500 students per year. Philanthropic and corporate foundations, community organizations, local businesses and individuals have strengthened the program’s appeal by providing funds for matching incentives to encourage family savings and boost account balances. Families can earn a $100 savings match for the first $100 of savings and an additional $100 “Save Steady” bonus for saving every month for six consecutive months.

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The Kindergarten to College account also helps integrate financial education into the classroom. Many adults are ill-prepared to navigate the increasingly complex financial services landscape. And students typically learn little, if anything, about money or finance in school. Studies suggest that financial education is more effective when paired with accounts and investments. The Kindergarten to College account gives teachers a powerful real-world tool to teach students about savings, financial institutions, compound interest and budgeting.

Involving the Community In designing the Kindergarten to College program, we talked with dozens of parents, individually and in focus groups and other meetings. Parents expressed support for the concept but had many questions, such as: “Why even bother saving for

college when I know I’ll never be able to afford it anyway?” “What happens to my money if my kid doesn’t make it to college?” “Will saving in the Kindergarten to College account disqualify my child for financial aid?” “What happens to my money if we move?” In response to these questions, a “Frequently Asked Questions” page was developed and featured prominently on the Kindergarten to College website (www.k2csf.org).

Progress to Date The program has created more than 13,000 accounts since it began. More than 1,400 families have started to save in their accounts and so far have invested upward of $500,000 of their own money. Participating families ascribe a great deal of the program’s success to the fact that the accounts are created automatically.

One parent with a daughter now in second grade says, “We’d probably be saving anyway, but this provides a much better avenue.” In addition, Kindergarten to College is changing the way many families think about their children’s educational future. Another parent with a child in the program says, “We always intended for our girls to go to college, but it used to be on the back burner, and now it’s front and center. It sends a message to the next generation. We have to do this together.”

More Information Online To learn more about Kindergarten to College, including tips for cities interested in launching similar efforts, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com. ■

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Free Tools To Help With the City Budget Process by Melissa Kuehne The municipal budget process typically begins in the spring. City officials and staff involved in budget-related activities can find a wide range of helpful resources available from the Institute for Local Government (ILG), the nonprofit research affiliate of the League. ILG offers a variety of free materials to assist in budget creation, financial management and public engagement in the process.

Budgeting Basics Cities provide a vast array of municipal services to residents and businesses and use a variety of sources to fund them. The legal requirements for collecting and using revenues vary across jurisdictions, and Understanding the Basics of County and City Revenues (www.ca-ilg.org/document/understanding-basics-countyand-city-revenues) provides a plain-language explanation of revenue sources and the constraints associated with each source. Budgets are a key tool for linking near-term goals with available resources, while also keeping in mind long-term goals and resources. Budget Creation and Monitoring (www.ca-ilg.org/budgetcreation-and-monitoring) outlines the process for creating a budget, including establishing goals and priorities for the agency, allocating resources according to those goals and priorities and comparing actual expenses and revenues with those estimated in the current budget. Once an agency’s budget is adopted, financial reports provide an essential oversight tool. Financial Reporting and Accounting (www.ca-ilg.org/post/financial-reporting-and-accounting) offers tips on fundamental principles. Budgeting and financial management can be difficult to master. Financial Management for Elected Officials: Questions to Ask (www.ca-ilg.org/post/financialmanagement) helps elected officials, the media and the public understand the basics of local agency financial planning and management, including questions to ask to ensure that good practices are being followed.

to engage the public in the budget process. This four-page publication covers reasons to involve the public in budgeting, tips on asking the right questions, tools to consider and a strategy for sustaining public engagement. Once an agency is familiar with the benefits of engaging the public in the budgeting process, the Budget Tool Box (www.cailg.org/budget-tool-box) outlines a number of ways local officials can enhance community involvement. These include budget education and outreach, surveys, workshops, advisory committees, deliberative forums, participatory budgeting and working with existing neighborhood councils and committees.

Additional Resources Other useful budgeting resources available from ILG include the following publications. A Local Official’s Guide to Public Engagement in Budgeting (www. ca-ilg.org/post/local-officials-guide-public-engagement-budgeting) presents five general approaches that local agencies use to involve residents in the budget process. Cash Management and Investments (www.ca-ilg.org/cash-manage ment-and-investments) offers options for investing public funds in bonds and other financial products. Purchasing and Contracting Practices (www.ca-ilg.org/purchasingcontracting-practices) outlines ethical and legal hazards related to purchasing and contracting. Looking Ahead: Long-Term Financial Planning (www.ca-ilg. org/looking-ahead-long-term-financial-planning) helps elected officials, staff and the community understand long-term fiscal challenges and opportunities.

Engaging the Public

Capital Financing and Debt Management (www.ca-ilg.org/ CapitalFinancingDebtManagement) provides information on debt financing as a tool for achieving community goals.

Involving the community can inform the budget process and help residents understand the difficult choices that budgeting entails. Public Engagement in Budgeting (www.ca-ilg.org/ public-engagement-budgeting) provides an overview of how

Additional articles on public engagement in budgeting can be found at www.ca-ilg.org/general-articles. For links to Western City articles on related issues of municipal finance, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com. â– 

Melissa Kuehne is communications coordinator for the Institute for Local Government and can be reached at mkuehne@ca-ilg.org.

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Wireless Industry

Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority

by Gail A. Karish About Legal Notes

The wireless industry in the United States provides mobile telephone and data services (Internet and/or broadband access) and leads the world in network investment. Yet industry lobbyists continue to advocate before Congress, state legislators and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that a barrier to upgrading and expanding the industry’s wireless infrastructure exists and must be cleared away — and that barrier is local zoning requirements. As Western City goes to press, the FCC is considering rules to implement federal legislation designed to limit local authority over the siting of wireless facilities, such as placing new antennas and equipment on existing sites and towers or otherwise modifying or expanding existing wireless facilities. If the FCC adopts the proposed version of these rules, generally referred to as the “proposed rules,” the wireless industry will gain more authority to demand or influence local changes to the visual character of communities throughout

California and the nation. The proposed rules may also allow for: • Potentially unsafe installations of the new antennas and equipment on existing sites and towers; and

This column is provided as general information and not as legal advice. The law is constantly evolving, and attorneys can and do disagree about what the law requires. Local agencies interested in determining how the law applies in a particular situation should consult their local agency attorneys.

• Other modifications or expansions to existing wireless facilities. This article provides background on the sources of applicable law and current wireless issues at the federal, state and local government levels. It also explains why whenever changes are proposed it is important for local officials to express their views about how to improve the rules to preserve and protect local authority and discretion over issues of public safety and aesthetics related to wireless facility siting and maintenance in California cities.

Background Cities must comply with various federal laws, FCC regulations and orders, California statutes and their own local ordinances as they consider the private

installation and maintenance of wireless antennas and equipment on existing sites and towers. In 2012 Congress adopted the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, a statute best known for extending tax cuts and unemployment benefits. Buried in the law is Section 6409(a), which requires local government approval of certain wireless facilities installations even if local zoning laws or policies would otherwise preclude or limit their particular placement or location. Section 6409(a) is the first federal law passed in nearly two decades that directly affects a city’s zoning authority over wireless facilities. Some would argue that Section 6409(a) was added to the tax relief and job creation continued

Gail A. Karish is an attorney with the law firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP. She can be reached at Gail.Karish@bbklaw.com.

www.westerncity.com

Western City, April 2014

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Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority, continued

The FCC needs to be educated by city officials who deal with wireless facilities siting on a daily basis.

The proposed rules would have a significant effect on residential areas. For example, an existing pole with wireless equipment is shown here, below, near a home in a quiet neighborhood. The proposed rules would allow a height increase of up to 20 feet to add antennas, which would require structural reinforcements that significantly increase the size and footprint of the facility (see rendering of simulated addition, at right). In this setting, 20 feet is not a minor modification.

statute as a result of successful lobbying by the wireless industry. The FCC’s proposed rules will implement Section 6409(a) and apply to local jurisdictions throughout the nation — including all California cities.

20-foot extension to any existing wireless facility — even if the modification makes a camouflaged facility plainly visible or adversely impacts a historical preservation district or an environmentally sensitive area. The extension may even unnecessarily intrude upon a residential neighborhood and negatively impact property values or alter an existing, nonconforming structure. The proposed rules do not even explicitly preserve local authority to protect people or property against unsafe installations. (See photos on pages 8 through 11.)

A key question for the FCC in developing the proposed rules has been what types of facilities must be approved under Section 6409(a). The statute provides that “[n]otwithstanding ... any other provision of law, a state or local government may not deny, and shall approve, any eligible facilities request for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not substantially change the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.” An “eligible facilities request” is any request to modify an existing wireless tower or base station that involves collocating, removing or replacing transmission equipment. Although the formal comment period has ended, the FCC will accept input on the proposed rules until it issues the final rules and regulations. It is therefore not too late to voice concerns, and city officials have many reasons to participate in the rulemaking process. For example, the proposed rules as currently written would require cities to approve a

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League of California Cities

Participating in the FCC’s rule-making process is important for another reason — it can impact the outcome. Although the wireless industry may have succeeded in its recent lobbying efforts in Congress, it has also suffered defeats when local interests have made a strong showing to share their perspective and concerns. For instance, in 2011 the FCC considered how to remove “barriers” to broadband deployment. The wireless industry pointed to local governments as a major barrier and included long lists of allegedly troublesome jurisdictions in agency filings. National associations representing local

authorities and many individual cities and counties countered with an effective response. Ultimately no rules or further proceedings were adopted. Instead, the FCC convened an educational workshop on distributed antenna systems and small cell technologies. In 2009, responding to an industry petition seeking clarification of an existing federal statute, the FCC adopted what’s commonly known as the “shot clock order,” which established a nationwide standard for the “reasonable period of time” for a city or county to process wireless applications. Local government opposition did not stop that order but it did help persuade the FCC to include requirements less draconian than the industry had advocated. Similarly, in California during 2013 state legislation was introduced that would have put severe limits on city authority to regulate the placement of wireless facilities. A prompt and vigorous response by the League and its member cities, as well as other local government organizations, helped stop the legislation from passing — although it may be reintroduced this year.

www.cacities.org


Rules Adopted in 1996 Already Serve Industry And Cities Well Tensions between national infrastructure policy goals and local zoning control are common. How to balance the two is not a new debate. Where deployment of wireless facilities is concerned, the balance has usually tipped toward retaining local control and authority for cities. Congress considered seriously limiting local zoning authority in 1996 but after intense debate and heavy participation by cities, the Telecommunications Act enacted that year generally preserved local authority over wireless facilities siting. Section 332(c)(7) of that statute preserves local zoning authority over “the placement, construction and modification of personal wireless service facilities,� but also subjects the authority to certain limitations. The wireless industry has prospered under the Section 332(c)(7) requirements that respect local zoning discretion. The industry has grown exponentially since 1996. It has made more than $330 billion in cumulative wireless infrastructure investment and is projected to invest

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another $34 to $36 billion per year over the next five years. Between 1996 and 2012 the number of cell tower sites increased tenfold, from about 30,000 to more than 301,000. So why are new rules necessary? Common refrains claim that cities and counties are slow to act on requests for collocations and minor modifications to existing wireless facilities, and that this affects deployment of facilities needed for wireless broadband service and could slow the rollout of a nationwide public safety network. But collocations and minor modifications are typically favored by cities over new sites, and cities would be very unlikely to needlessly hold up deployment of improved public safety networks. Thus, the rationale for new rules is unclear. continued

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Wireless Industry Seeks to Limit Local Zoning Authority, continued

Although the formal comment period has ended, the FCC will

This example illustrates the impact of the proposed rules on buildings with stealth (concealed) wireless facilities. The existing building, below, presently has wireless antennas that have been screened or painted to limit their visual impact. The proposed rules would allow the facility to add 20 feet to install additional wireless equipment, significantly altering the building’s visual appearance and height (see rendering of simulated addition, at right).

accept input on the proposed rules until it issues the final rules and regulations.

Section 6409 and the Proposed Rule-Making

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Section 6409(a) differs from the 1996 law because it mandates local government approvals, but it is unclear what exactly must be approved. Last year, the FCC’s Wireless Bureau issued nonbinding “interpretative guidance” on Section 6409(a) that was considered favorable to the industry. The guidance raised many aesthetic, historical preservation, environmental and public safety concerns for local governments. As the FCC now considers the proposed rules based on that guidance, it has raised dozens of questions about the role of cities in responding to applications for siting or collocating new wireless facilities, including new antennas and equipment. These questions include: • Should the FCC even make rules, or would there be benefits to giving cities and counties the first opportunity to implement Section 6409(a) without any federal rules? • How should key terms in the statute be defined? For example, should an existing wireless tower mean a structure built and used solely or primarily for wireless facilities

(the classic wireless tower), or should it include any structure that might be used for wireless facilities such as a streetlight, utility pole, building or water tank — whether or not it currently hosts any wireless facilities? • What is a “substantial change” in the physical dimensions of a tower? This is a critical threshold in the statute, because under the proposed rules cities must approve a proposed tower modification that does not result in a substantial change. The proposed rules were based on a test adopted when the FCC implemented a different federal statute. Taking that approach here could, for instance, require city approval of a 20-foot extension to any existing wireless facility — including a streetlight or utility pole. • Should the FCC impose limits on application requirements, fees or processes? • Should the FCC deem an application “granted” if a city does not act within a specified period or would this remedy violate the U.S. Constitution? • Does the statute apply to local governments acting in their capacity as property owners? www.cacities.org


In addition to the questions related to wireless facility siting, the FCC’s rulemaking contemplates whether further rules are needed to implement the FCC’s shot clock order. For example, the FCC asks what has been cities’ and the industry’s experience operating under the shot clock order and whether additional remedies are needed, such as deeming an application granted if a city hasn’t acted on it before the shot clock deadline expires. The FCC’s extensive questions suggest that its final rules could be more reasonable than its current proposals. But this won’t happen if the agency hears only from the wireless industry as it considers adoption of the final version of the rules. The FCC needs to be educated by city officials who deal with wireless facilities siting on a daily basis.

Conclusion Wireless facilities siting raises political and legal issues that are becoming ever more complex. Cities already must comply with various federal laws, FCC regulations and orders, state statutes and their own local ordinances when wireless providers come before them for approvals to place new antennas and equipment

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on existing sites or otherwise modify or expand existing wireless facilities. Cities also often face public opposition to the wireless facilities and threats of litigation from wireless providers. All of these factors can impact the approval process and the proposed deployment. The proposed rules threaten to curtail or at least reduce city authority or discretion over wireless siting. Effective defense of cities’ interests in the FCC’s rule-making requires a significant effort. The League (together with the California State Association of Counties and the California and Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors) has already filed helpful comments on the proposed rules. (See the joint comments on the League web page devoted to federal issues at www.cacities.org/PolicyAdvocacy/Federal-Priorities-and-Issues.) Although the formal filing deadlines have passed, it is not too late for city officials to write a letter and/or set up a meeting with FCC commissioners or staff to express their concerns about this potential federal intrusion on local land-use decisions — and seek to protect and preserve local authority over public safety and aesthetics in the community. ■

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Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote

Smart Risk-Taking by Frank Benest

Today, innovation is imperative for effective city governance. Cities are confronting economic stress, demographic and social shifts and facing opportunities posed by new technologies. Council members often encourage staff to innovate for a variety of reasons: • Constituents want better, cheaper, faster approaches; • The big challenges — traffic congestion, affordable housing, gangs, economic vitality and environmental sustainability — all require shared service approaches, cross-sector partnerships, public engagement, new technologies and other creative solutions; • Council members want to make a positive difference in their communities and leave a legacy; and • Innovation creates an attractive record for re-election. However, some council members may often discourage — if not crush — innovation because they do not like risk

and failure. They tolerate and sometimes even promote a zero-risk environment, which is antithetical to creative approaches. Yet there can be no innovation without risk and failure. Picture this example. As a council member, you attend a regular council meeting where one of your residents gets up to criticize a traffic-calming program that staff is proposing along a particular corridor. In response to a council priority to improve bike and pedestrian safety, the plan calls for eliminating a car lane and installing a bike lane and roundabout. The resident calls the plan a stupid idea, claiming that it will cause cut-through traffic on his street and says that the chief transportation official is an idiot. One of the other council members also joins in criticizing the proposal and the staff. The implicit message in this situation is that staff will be criticized for recommending any creative approach that may result in a mistake, failure or opposition, so it is better to play it safe.

Innovation Requires Risk Innovation requires risk-taking — not wild gambles, but calculated risks. For innovation to occur, staff must risk money and other resources, such as time and their reputations. Most importantly, they must risk mistakes and likely criticism. Staff will not innovate when top management or elected officials criticize every misstep or mistake. Instead, staff will try to make any recommendation or proposal perfect and safe with no chance of failure before putting it forward. That’s not how innovation occurs. Innovation involves taking a challenge (for example, traffic congestion) without a proven solution — or a problem for which every stakeholder group has a different preferred solution — and experimenting with various approaches, making mistakes and fixing things as the process unfolds. Unless council members and top management create an environment that

This article is a service of the nonprofit Institute for Local Government (ILG), whose mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. Frank Benest is a former city manager of Palo Alto and currently serves as a senior advisor to the International City/County Management Association. For more information about ILG, visit www.ca-ilg.org.

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Call everything a “pilot” project, even if it is not technically a pilot. Why? Residents will more likely expect some mistakes or failures if it is a trial from which the city will learn what works and what does not.

encourages “smart” risks, there will be little if any innovation regardless of how much the council desires it.

Strategies for Council Members Council members must go beyond exhorting staff to innovate. My experience as a long-time city manager in several communities and as a consultant promoting innovation suggests that the council must help create a safe environment for responsible risk-taking. While there is no perfect way to do this, these tips offer some helpful strategies. Don’t allow people to personally criticize staff for well-intentioned efforts. This is critical if your council is serious about promoting innovation. Set this ground rule: It’s OK to criticize ideas or policies but not the people involved. As council members, you must model this behavior and observe rules of decorum that inhibit staff-bashing.

Conduct a risk assessment in public. Discuss publicly the concept that innovation does not occur without some risks and inevitable errors. Require staff to conduct a risk assessment as part of an innovative proposal. Then at a public meeting council members can discuss what is a responsible risk versus what may be a gamble or reckless risk and thoughtfully balance potential downsides and upsides. Tie the innovative proposal to the larger agenda. It is easier to promote a risk if it can be linked to priorities or a strategic plan already approved by the council or if it can be discussed as an extension of another public or private investment currently under way.

Create a small innovation or risk fund. Ask the city manager to budget a small pool of money to be spent on creative ideas, for which groups of employees and perhaps community partners can compete. Make sure to report back to the council and community on the lessons learned for future innovation. Identify wherever possible the return on investment over time. The net “gain” — for example, cost savings, productivity improvements and reductions in crime or traffic — will offset the losses from other projects that do not pan out. Engage in proactive media communications. While there is never any guarantee of positive coverage, it’s always a good idea to meet proactively with media representatives so they understand the rationale for the innovative approach, what is and is not being proposed as well as the risk assessment that is being conducted. continued

Take an incremental approach to risk and innovation.

www.westerncity.com

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Is Your City Council Stifling Innovation? Tips to Promote Smart Risk-Taking, continued

Take action before every question or concern has been addressed. The great organizations in the private and public sectors use a “ready, fire, aim” approach. They try to get things “roughly right,” knowing that any creative approach will need adjustments as efforts unfold. Often, in the face of controversy a council decides to send an innovative proposal back for more staff work countless times until the idea dies or staff just gives up. Partner with a nongovernmental group and spread the risk. Collaborating with a nongovernmental partner can generate more and better ideas on how to address the challenge. Given the trust deficit experienced by many city governments, the partner can also take the lead in presenting a particular innovation. This approach also spreads the risk and some of the costs. Take an incremental approach to risk and innovation. If the city takes a few incremental steps in starting a project, it is easier to back off from a risky project if things go terribly wrong or significant opposition arises. Typically, such initial steps do not require a large financial investment at the outset. In other words, it is reversible. Conversely, if the initial efforts create positive results, the city can slowly build momentum and public support for the endeavor.

More Resources Online For additional information and links to related resources, read the online version of this article at www.westerncity.com.

Be transparent about any results, especially mistakes, yet demonstrate reasonable restraint in your criticism. Ensure that staff discloses any failures and what is being done to correct the situation. Express any concern about the lack of progress or any failure to achieve what was intended, and make any helpful suggestions. Debrief with staff and the community. At key points along the way as well as at the end of an experimental effort, ask: • Given our goals, what has gone well? • What has not gone so well?

involved. However, it can also be powerful to celebrate audacious efforts that fall flat. Recognizing such “fabulous flops” with humorous awards can encourage staff and partners to experiment even if the idea ultimately fails.

Provide a Professional Safety Net The council helps set the tone for the organization. Staff will not take risks to innovate in a culture of fear. Elected officials must provide a professional safety net to encourage responsible risk-taking and ensure that innovation is not just talk from the council dais. ■

• How did we respond to inevitable problems? • What did we learn for the future? Celebrate “fabulous flops.” Certainly a few moments should be taken at a council meeting to recognize a successful project and the staff and community partners

Innovation requires risk-taking ---- not wild gambles, but calculated risks.

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www.cacities.org


Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

Deciding When to Step Aside from the

Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications Part 1 of 2

Question Our governing body is struggling with the issue of abstentions. When must one abstain from voting on an issue, and when is it up to the individual?

Answer The issue of when to refrain from participating in an agency decision can be vexing. As with many ethical issues, it is an area where the law provides some — but not all — of the answers. continued

Western City originally published this article in December 2002; it has been updated for this issue. This column is a service of the Institute for Local Government (ILG), whose mission is to promote good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities. For more information and to access ILG’s resources on public service ethics, visit www.ca-ilg.org/trust.

www.westerncity.com

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Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications, Part 1 of 2, continued

Abstention or Disqualification? Defining the relevant terms is a useful starting point. When an official abstains from participating in a decision, he or she does so voluntarily. Abstaining involves the exercise of some degree of judgment or choice. By contrast, in the case of disqualification, one does not have a choice. The law

prohibits that individual from participating in a decision — even if the official believes he or she can put personal interests aside and/or be fair. The law focuses on the public’s possible perceptions about the integrity of the decision-making process — and in so doing, the law often avoids even the appearance of impropriety as well as the potential for actual impropriety.

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It is important to keep in mind that being disqualified from participating in a particular matter does not imply any wrongdoing. It simply means that an official has a financial or other relationship that precludes him or her from participating in the decision. (Having a disqualifying conflict of interest and insisting on participating in the decision is another matter. Such participation is a violation of the law and could subject a decision-maker to civil and criminal penalties. It also could invalidate the action taken.) continued on page 21

The Disqualification Analysis The process of determining when an official is disqualified from participating in a decision is a very complex one. A number of statutes, regulations and interpretive opinions flesh out each aspect of the basic prohibitions. As Western City goes to press, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is in the process of streamlining the regulations associated with this analysis. The FPPC has also redefined the meaning of the phrase “reasonably foreseeable” in the context of determining whether a decision will have a material financial effect on the official. The FPPC has adopted some of these changes but has not made them effective until it considers other pending regulatory changes. For more information on the status of updates to the conflict-of-interest regulations, see the FPPC web page for newly adopted, amended or repealed regulations at www.fppc.ca.gov/ index.php?id=247#1.

Download the order form online: http://www.cacities.org/Resources or call (916) 658-8217.

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Children in San Luis Rey Park play with a colorful parachute at a Fun on the Run Mobile Recreation event.

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The City of San Clemente, located in southern Orange County, is a small beach town (pop. 65,000) known for its surf, community programs and active living. Over the past 10 years the city has identified “pockets of poverty” with little or no access to city services, increased obesity rates and household incomes 50 percent below the median.

In response, the city’s leaders launched San Clemente’s first childhood obesity prevention program in 2007. With support from local hospitals and a community development block grant, San Clemente began operating a free mobile recreation program called Fun on the Run. This program has since expanded to offer low-cost after-school sports and scholarship-based summer swim lessons. Known collectively as Fun on the Run Fitness, these programs promote healthy activities and lifestyles by providing safe, supervised fun in strategic underserved areas of San Clemente, targeting low-income youth between the ages of 5 and 14 years. continued

The City of San Clemente won the 2013 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence in the Health and Wellness Programs category for this project. For more about the award program visit www.helenputnam.org.

www.westerncity.com

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San Clemente’s “Fun on the Run Fitness” Focuses on Youth, continued

The Fun on the Run Mobile Recreation program visits four low-income neighborhood areas weekly to keep children engaged and active after school. It offers physical activities, games, crafts and nutrition education and serves approximately 6,500 children annually. Fun on the Run Mobile Recreation also draws residents out to enjoy the natural beauty of their local parks. Families have regained a sense of safety in their parks; they now stay longer and encourage their children to play. Fun on the Run Fitness also offers Goal Zone Sports, a low-cost, after-school sports program that provides six-week sessions three times a year. Youth learn basic sport-specific techniques, practice drills and participate in scrimmages. They also receive 20 minutes of nutrition education, covering a variety of topics including “Rethink Your Drink” and “My Plate.” In its fifth season, Goal Zone Sports served approximately 300 children. Goal Zone Sports’ activities include periodically recording each participant’s body mass index (BMI) measurements. In the first year BMI results went down by an average of 2 percent. Parent feedback has been encouraging. One mother says, “My 8-year-old daughter must take medicine that made her gain weight this past year. What’s worse is that my husband recently lost his job, and we cannot afford to put her in the sports she used to play. This Goal Zone Sports experience helped her to be active and have fun. She just went to the doctor last week and has lost two pounds!” During the summer months, Fun on the Run Fitness also conducts swim lessons. “Swim and Learn” provides bus transportation from each neighborhood to the pool and teaches children how to swim; it also reinforces academic skills to help prevent children falling behind while school is out. Swim and Learn serves children who cannot afford lessons and do not have transportation or access to a community pool. Although the lessons are free, parents are required to fill out scholarship applications and registration forms.

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Goal Zone Sports soccer players practice field sprints during warm-ups.

Partners Make It Possible Multiple organizations collaborated to support Fun on the Run Fitness since its inception. Saddleback Memorial Care, City of San Clemente Community Development Block Grants and Mission Hospital contributed toward initial startup costs. Grants from the St. Joseph’s Health System Foundation provided funding for Goal Zone Sports. Swim and Learn has benefited from the generous support of the Friends of San Clemente Beaches, Parks and Recreation Foundation and Great Opportunities. All of these partners have made program enhancements possible with little or no impact on the city’s fiscal stability. Another key component to the program’s success has been a partnership among the City of San Clemente’s Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission and three local elementary schools. Partnering with principals, school staff and Parent Teacher Associations has been critical in sustaining the after-school sports programs. This collaborative effort enables the city to use school facilities and fields at no charge and helps keep overall costs low. Occupying kids with constructive, physical and fun activities also helps keep them out

of trouble. With this in mind, the city has also established partnerships within the community to support Fun on the Run Fitness, including the San Clemente Human Relations Committee, San Clemente Collaborative, Orange County Sheriff ’s Department, Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Program.

Building Communitywide Health Each year the program continues to gain momentum and change the lives of local children and families. San Clemente City Manager Pall Gudgeirsson says, “Fun on the Run Fitness has been a critical part of the city’s health and wellness plan, giving underserved youth the opportunity to participate in programs they would not normally be able to afford.” Building low-cost recreation services into the fabric of the San Clemente community gives families an opportunity to join in the fun, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Fun on the Run Fitness serves as the city’s foundation for building communitywide health and wellness. Contact: Pamela Passow, recreation manager, Beaches, Parks & Recreation; phone: (949) 429-8875; email: PassowP@san-clemente.org. ■

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Western City magazine’s job opportunity section is the source for job seekers looking for positions in local government. When you place a job opportunity ad in Western City magazine, it will be posted at no additional charge on our website. For rates and deadlines, visit www.westerncity. com and click on the Advertise link.

City of Mendota

PUBLIC UTILITIES DIRECTOR

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Display Advertising Call Pam Maxwell-Blodgett at (800) 262-1801 to place a display (boxed) ad or for rate and deadline information, or email admanager@westerncity.com. Website Job Postings Display ads are posted on our website at no additional charge. But if you miss the deadline for getting your job opportunity ad into the magazine, you can post it on the Western City website right away. To post your job opportunity ad on our automated website, visit www.westerncity.com or contact Anita Lopez, administrative assistant; email: alopez@cacities.org; phone: (916) 658-8223.

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The City of Mendota is pleased to announce it is recruiting for the position of Public Utilities Director. Minimum Qualifications: » 3-5 years supervisory experience and licenses in water and wastewater treatment plant and water distribution management. Desirable Qualifications: » Knowledge and experience in water and wastewater treatment and water distribution. » Ability to provide leadership of the department with a clear focus on the duties and responsibilities of a public utility providing both water and wastewater treatment. » Excellent oral and written communication skills. Contact Charles Johnson, (559) 6553291, for application.

www.westerncity.com

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Watch for these Upcoming Opportunities: • California Fire & Rescue Training Authority Executive Director • City of Pico Rivera, California City Manager • City of Seattle, Washington Police Chief • Humboldt State University, California Police Chief For more information and filing deadlines, please contact: Bob Murray and Associates, 1677 Eureka Road, Suite 202, Roseville, CA 95661 Phone: (916) 784-9080, Fax: (916) 784-1985, E-mail: apply@bobmurrayassoc.com

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County Counsel Yolo County, CA

Yolo County offers an outstanding quality of life to its 206,000 residents. Encompassing 1,021 square miles of rich agricultural land, the County is located just west of Sacramento and includes four thriving and dynamic incorporated cities. With an outstanding team of 1,252, Yolo County enjoys a culture of collaboration and progressive thinking. Appointed by a 5-member Board, the County Counsel serves as chief legal advisor to the Board, other elected officials, various special districts, and County departments. The ideal candidate will bring solid judgment, confidence, a collaborative style, and proven track record of success in litigation. JD, current membership in CA State Bar, and 5+ years of broad and extensive civil law experience required. Salary DOQ; CalPERS 2.5% @ 55 (classic).

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Visit the TB&Co. website for the latest information – www.tbcrecruiting.com Teri Black-Brann • 310.377.2612 Carolyn Seeley • 949.487.7606

Attention: City Administrator City of Bishop P.O. Box 1236 Bishop, CA 93515 Deadline is May 2, 2014, 4:30 p.m. To obtain an application and more information about this employment opportunity, please visit the City’s website: www.ca-bishop.us (and click on Jobs) or call Bishop City Hall at 760-873-5863. EOE.

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Photo/art credits Cover: Djgis/Shutterstock.com Page 3: blocks, Neveshkin Nikolay/Shutterstock.com; girl, Samuel Borges Photography/Shutterstock.com Page 4: Piggy bank, Mega Pixel/Shutterstock.com Pages 4 & 5: blocks, Neveshkin Nikolay/Shutterstock. com; children, Brocreative/Shutterstock.com

Proceeding on Wireless Facilities Siting report, prepared by CTC Technology & Energy, and submitted as an exhibit to comments to the Federal Communications Commission made by a nationwide coalition of cities. Pages 12 & 13: Geka/Shutterstock.com Page 14: Sezer66/Shutterstock.com

Page 6: Graphic, Jörg Röse-Oberreich/Shutterstock.com

Page 15, dice illustration, Stuart Miles/Shutterstock.com

Page 7: Red clouds, Silver-John/Shutterstock.com; wireless facility, Richard A. McMillin/Shutterstock.com

Pages 15, 16, 21, 22, 23: diamond texture, Liashko/ Shutterstock.com

Pages 8 through 11: Photos courtesy of Engineering Analysis of Technical Issues Raised in the FCC’s

Pages 17 & 18: Courtesy City of San Clemente and League of California Cities

www.cacities.org


Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications, Part 1 of 2, continued from page 16

The following examples illustrate some situations involving these issues.

Financial Interests The most common form of disqualification occurs under California’s Political Reform Act. Under that law, a public official may not make, participate in or influence a governmental decision that will have a reasonably foreseeable and material financial effect on the official, the official’s immediate family or any of the official’s financial interests. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has developed a multistep process for determining when an official must disqualify himself or herself from participating in a decision. The rules are not necessarily intuitive. The disqualification analysis recognizes some of the practical considerations decisionmakers face. This includes whether the effect of the decision on the public official’s interest is the same as the effect on a significant segment of the public (this is known as the “public generally” exception to the disqualification requirement). Another step analyzes whether the otherwise-disqualified official’s participation in the decision is legally required. The latter exception applies if an official’s disqualification would prevent the agency from acting in a situation in which it legally must act. When analyzing this issue, local agency counsel may ask such questions as: • Is the agency unable to convene a quorum? and • Are there no alternative means of making the decision?

Looking for Footnotes? A fully footnoted version of this article is available online at www.westerncity.com.

www.westerncity.com

Special Procedures for Appointments to Other Bodies Involving Compensation

positions involve a small stipend to compensate an official for the time involved. May an official participate in the decision related to his or her own appointment?

Local agency officials often represent their agency or a group of agencies on regional and other bodies. Sometimes these

The FPPC allows local public officials to vote on their own appointments to continued

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DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS Salary – DOQ The City of Livingston, California is seeking a full time individual to serve as Director of Public Works. To plan, organize, direct and coordinate the activities of the maintenance and operations areas of the Public Works Dept.; to supervise through subordinates, the maintenance crews engaged in maintenance, construction and repair work on City sewer, water and drainage systems, streets, sidewalks, alleys, parks, and related facilities. Five years of increasingly responsible professional Public Works experience with at least three years in a Public Works management and supervisory capacity. BA Degree in public administration, engineering or related field. Water Certifications: Possession of a Grade II (T2) and (D3) Water Treatment Operator’s certificate. Wastewater Certifications: Grade III WWTPO all are highly desirable. Certificate issued by the State of California is required. Deadline date April 18, 2014. Required City application available on our website at www.livingstoncity.com, or at City Hall, 1416 “C” Street, Livingston, CA 95334; 209-394-8041 ext. 114.

City Manager The city of Sutter Creek is seeking applicants for City Manager. Sutter Creek is a small Gold Rush era city located in the heart of the historic Mother Lode with easy access to the outdoor and cultural attractions of Sacramento, the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Please visit cityofsuttercreek.org for additional details about the city and Amador County. The city provides a broad range of services to a population of 3,000 with a staff of 14, and general fund budget of $1.8 million. The City Council and the public place a high value on the importance of open communication and participation between the public and city government. Therefore, the successful candidate must possess outstanding communication and interpersonal skills in addition to management level experience with public sector financial management, planning, and public works. A minimum of 5 years public administration experience is preferred. Salary range is $75,000- $100,000, with a very competitive benefit package. Letters of interest and resumes can be mailed to Tim Murphy PO Box 823 Sutter Creek CA, 95685.

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Deciding When to Step Aside From the Decision-Making Process: Abstentions and Disqualifications, Part 1 of 2, continued

compensated positions on such boards, as long as certain transparency measures occur. Information about the appointment must be posted on the local agency’s website, including the name of the appointed official, the amount of compensation

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Other Interests and Bias Issues

A publication that answers frequently asked questions and a form to assist local agencies in complying with this requirement are available from the FPPC.

Other reasons for being disqualified from participating in a decision include receipt of campaign contributions (under very limited circumstances), certain forms of bias based on a personal interest in the outcome of a decision, or strong feelings (positive or negative) about the parties whose interests will be affected by the decision.

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CITY ADMINISTRATOR Sand City, CA The City of Sand City on the Monterey Peninsula is an eclectic and business oriented City recruiting for a City Administrator. This close-knit community of about 350 residents has substantial and diversified businesses. We cooperatively interact with other governmental entities near Monterey Bay and are committed to interdependence while maintaining individual identity. The ideal candidate will possess excellent experience in leadership and management in a public agency– preferably a California city government located in the Coastal Zone. Passion for working closely with our business partners as well as other stakeholders is paramount. Substantial experience in developing productive workplaces and relationships is expected. This is a “hands on” employee management position as well as a policy-setting and community building focus. We seek a dynamic, effective leader to improve effectiveness and service without unduly increasing citizens’ costs. This is a great opportunity. Please send your letter of interest and resume to: City of Sand City, Attn: HR #1 Sylvan Park Sand City, CA. 93955 831-394-2472 – Fax

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Email: hr@sandcity.org

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California State University at Los Angeles Visit the TB&Co. website for the latest information – www.tbcrecruiting.com Teri Black • 310.377.2612 Carolyn Seeley • 949.487.7606 Joe Brann • 310.265.7479

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Abstentions In some situations an agency attorney or the FPPC says that no legal imperative exists to disqualify oneself from a particular matter. If you still have questions about your ability to put your personal situation aside and/or make a fair decision, then it is best to abstain. What if you believe you can make a fair and public-minded decision, but others are questioning whether that is indeed so? As with many ethical dilemmas, this is an example of conflicting and important values. One value is fulfilling your responsibility as an office-holder to make decisions — which, of course, is what your constituents elected you to do. Related to this value is the benefit of having as many decision-

The most common form of disqualification occurs under California’s Political Reform Act. www.cacities.org


makers as possible participate in decisions to reflect the full range of community perspectives.

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The other value is preserving the public’s trust that the agency’s actions are based on principles of fairness and what best promotes the public’s interests — as opposed to decision-makers’ self-interests or those of their friends and family. In these instances, one strategy is to put yourself in the public’s shoes. What would you think if you were a member of the public analyzing the situation? If you question the ability to put personal interests and loyalties aside, you may want to abstain.

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This kind of assessment causes some officials to adopt the practice of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety with respect to their conduct as public officials. Such a practice places a high value on maintaining and improving the public’s perception of government and those who govern. This value reflects a concern that the loss of public trust in government diminishes the community support necessary to address pressing community challenges.

and your constituents may disagree with the decision. In fact, some may feel disappointed and angry if one participant voluntarily steps aside and others make a decision with which they disagree.

Adopting this approach may mean not participating in an important decision. Perhaps even more difficult is the possibility that those who do participate in the decision-making process may make what you consider to be the “wrong” decision. The decision may affect the long-term interests of the community,

Ultimately, the issue rests in the value you place on ethics in public service and how you want to be remembered by the community and your family. If integrity is part of that picture, then braving criticism for voluntarily refraining from participating in an important decision may be well worth it.

More Resources Online

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east coast 2910 Kerry Forest Parkway D4-242 Tallahassee, FL 32309 phone 850•391•0000

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Part 2 of this article will appear in the June issue of Western City and will discuss what to do when one is disqualified and how not voting affects the decision-making process. ■

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Bobbi C. Peckham • Phil McKenney

Peckham&McKenney “All About Fit” www.peckhamandmckenney.com Roseville, CA

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2014

THE CALIFORNIA MUNICIPAL REVENUE SOURCES HANDBOOK Edition

Michael Coleman

The Municipal Revenue Sources Handbook is the definitive resource on municipal funding for city managers, city finance directors, academics and other professionals engaged in the complex world of municipal finance. To order please visit www.cacities.org/publications


Western City April Issue