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Council set to reopen discussion on norms and procedures, tiered benefits

Posted: November 12, 2012 9:33 a.m.
Updated: November 12, 2012 9:33 a.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council will once again weigh changes to its norms and procedures during its meeting Tuesday.

During the council’s meeting Oct. 9, Councilman TimBen Boydston said he thought many of the proposed changes violated constitutional laws of free speech and expression.

Namely, Boydston criticized a proposed change that would require a majority vote from the council to place an item on the council agenda and new stipulations restricting what council members can say during their interaction with members of the press.

The latest version of the norms and procedures takes into account much of the council and public feedback from that Oct. 9 meeting. In many instances, uses of the words “shall” and “will” have been replaced with “should,” in response to criticism that the wording of the document was too restrictive.

The document also includes a passage that says the council’s norms and procedures are intended to “reflect common sense,” echoing the words of both Mayor Frank Ferry and Councilman Bob Kellar at the last council meeting on the subject.

Council members will also decide whether to adopt a resolution “clarifying” the council’s position on the city’s two-tiered health benefits system.

Boydston originally raised issue with the system at the council’s meeting on May 22. Because he was elected after Jan. 1, 2011, Boydston is entitled to only a portion of some of the health benefits afforded to other council members.
Boydston called the system “profoundly wrong” during the council’s last discussion on the matter on Oct. 23.

One of the reasons this matter is again on the agenda is due to public concerns raised about whether implementation of the two-tiered system, which took place during a closed-session council meeting, constitutes a violation of the Brown Act open meetings law.

The city maintains that the original vote on the matter was not in violation of the Brown Act. Regardless, Tuesday’s vote on the item will “reiterate the city’s commitment to approve such future benefit changes via resolution in open session,” according to the motion.




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