MINUTES OF THE MEDFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
June 4, 2015
The meeting was called to order at noon in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 411 W. 8th
Street, Medford with the following members and staff present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski.
City Manager Eric Swanson; City Attorney Lori Cooper; City Recorder Glenda Wilson.
20. Approval or correction of the minutes of the May 21, 2015 regular meeting
Minutes were approved as presented.
30. Oral requests and communications from the audience
Comments will be limited to 3 minutes per individual or 5 minutes if representing a group or organization. PLEASE SIGN IN.
30.1 Darby Stricker, 1154 E. Barnett, Medford, addressed the Council to regarding the request from the last meeting from the hoteliers. They are asking the City Council to create an advisory board that would include the industry representatives to advise the council on the travel and tourism issues.
Councilmember Bunn noted that this issue was discussed during the Council Officers meeting today and asked Councilmember Corcoran to report. Councilmember Corcoran noted that the City Council will be having a work session on this issue and want to include Travel Medford and the Chamber of Commerce in the discussion. He noted the amendment to extend the current Travel Medford contract for one year has been approved and this gives us some time to address the issues and concerns. Councilmember Corcoran noted he will be contacting the Chamber to discuss the formation of a separate board and entity to govern the Travel Medford organization. He noted the intent is to include members of the City Council, Chamber board and representatives of the travel industry on the new board.
Ms. Stricker stated she appreciated the information but that the group she represents still feels that there should be an advisory board to the City Council.
Councilmember Bunn noted that the formation of a separate board for Travel Medford would be an ambitious step and that an intermediate step would be the formation of the advisory board to the Council. He requested any suggestions from Ms. Stricker’s group on what the duties of the advisory board would be should be forwarded to the Council. Ms. Strickland noted that she feels the advisory board would be able to make recommendations regarding the Council’s concerns in the Travel Medford contract and spoke to other communities that already are utilizing a travel advisory board.
Mr. Swanson noted that the current contract has been extended for one year and that meetings are underway to continue the negotiation of a new agreement.
40. Consent calendar
Ms. Cooper noted the resolution for the Sky Park issue had a few typographical changes that were modified.
40.1 COUNCIL BILL 2015-51 A resolution initiating the vacation of an approximate 20-foot by 225-foot long strip of public right-of-way, perpendicular to the north side of 10th
Street, between South Holly Street and South Ivy Street. (SV-15-053)
40.2 REMOVED By Councilmember Bunn.
40.3 COUNCIL BILL 2015-53 A resolution affirming the Public Works Director’s administrative decision to not require installation of speed bumps on Brookhurst Street.
: Adopt the consent calendar.
: Eli Matthews Seconded by
: Dick Gordon
: Councilmembers Eli Matthews, Dick Gordon, Daniel Bunn, Kevin Stine, Clay Bearnson, Tim Jackle, Chris Corcoran and Michael Zarosinski voting yes.
Motion carried and the following Council bills were duly adopted: 2015-51 and 2015-53.
50. Items removed from consent calendar
40.2 COUNCIL BILL 2015-52 A resolution reversing the Site Plan and Architectural Commission’s decision to deny Sky Park, a 26-unit residential project, and related Exception request seeking relief from required parking standards on 0.68 acre located on the northwest corner of South Central Avenue and East 10th
Councilmember Bunn expressed frustration with this application and the discussion of the Site Plan & Architectural Commission on the parking. He felt the Commission should have given its full consideration to the entire project design as this would have made for a better project; but he understood the timing constraints that impacted the process. Councilmember Gordon concurred and he wished the developer had been given the opportunity to go back and make changes that would have enhanced the design.
: Adopt the resolution reversing the Site Plan and Architectural Commission’s decision to deny AC-15-007/E-15-009 and declaring that no procedural error was made.
: Daniel Bunn Seconded by
: Chris Corcoran
Roll Call: Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Clay Bearnson, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski voting yes. Councilmember Tim Jackle abstained.
Resolution 2015-52 was duly adopted.
60. Ordinances and resolutions
60.1 COUNCIL BILL 2015-54 An ordinance authorizing execution of an Agreement between the City of Medford and Teamsters Local 223/Construction and Maintenance employees concerning wages, hours, fringe benefits, and other working conditions retroactive from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2016.
: Adopt the ordinance authorizing the Agreement with Teamsters Local 223/Construction and Maintenance employees.
: Chris Corcoran Seconded by
: Daniel Bunn
: Councilmembers Chris Corcoran, Daniel Bunn, Michael Zarosinski, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine, Clay Bearnson and Dick Gordon voting yes.
Ordinance 2015-54 was duly adopted.
60.2 COUNCIL BILL 2015-55 An ordinance authorizing execution of an Agreement between the City of Medford and Teamsters Local 223/Medford Parks Employees concerning wages, hours, fringe benefits, and other working conditions retroactive from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017.
: Adopt the ordinance authorizing the agreement with Teamsters Local 223/Medford Parks Employees.
: Chris Corcoran Seconded by
: Daniel Bunn
: Councilmembers Chris Corcoran, Daniel Bunn, Tim Jackle, Clay Bearnson, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski voting yes.
Ordinance 2015-55 was duly adopted.
60.3 COUNCIL BILL 2015-56 An ordinance making the annual ad valorem property tax levy of the City of Medford for fiscal year 2015-16.
: Adopt the ordinance making the annual ad valorem property tax levy of the City of Medford for fiscal year 2015-16.
: Daniel Bunn Seconded by
: Chris Corcoran
Councilmember Gordon questioned if this item should be moved until the budget is approved and Ms. Chan noted that this is the order these approvals have historically occurred.
: Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Clay Bearnson, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews, Michael Zarosinski, Kevin Stine and Tim Jackle voting yes.
Ordinance 2015-56 was duly adopted.
65. Public Hearings
65.1 COUNCIL BILL 2015-57 A resolution adopting the budget for the City of Medford for the biennium commencing July 1, 2015, and making appropriations thereunder.
City Manager Eric Swanson and Alison Chan, Finance Director provided a staff report and overview of the proposed budget. Mr. Swanson thanked the Budget Committee members for their work in reviewing the proposed budget and bringing forward a recommendation. Mr. Swanson spoke to the new items in the budget; the fire apparatus reserve fund and community outreach implementation funding. He spoke to the capital improvement projects to be addressed in the budget. He noted that there are 456 positions authorized and the addition of several new positions in Human Resources, Police Property Control, and Parks & Recreation. Mr. Swanson noted that the ongoing review of revenue and funds will continue via the quarterly financial reports provided by Ms. Chan. He noted that the Budget Committee will meet in November 2015 to review revenues and reconsideration of unfunded budget issues.
Ms. Chan reviewed the financial numbers and noted that all funds are balanced and the City has a three month contingency as per Council policy with the exception of Fund 11. All budgets support the Strategic Plan goals and objectives. She reviewed the General Fund revenues and appropriations in the Budget. She noted the General Fund appropriation is for $129,290,320 with $12,895,620 in Contingency; she reported that 62% of the budget is for Personnel Services.
Ms. Chan then addressed the budget including all funds and the total appropriation is $325,076,510 with $23,674,010 in Contingency. She spoke to the portion of the funds that are spent on Capital Improvement Projects.
Public hearing opened.
- John Huttl, Deputy City Attorney and resident of Medford, addressed the Council regarding the budget issue to fully fund a position for the City Attorney’s office.He noted that he understood that the Human Resources Department has contracted with out of state attorneys and noted that if the funding for the additional position in the City Attorney’s office was received, these issues could likely be handled in house for less cost. He requested that the Human Resources budget be modified to offset the cost for the new position in the City Attorney’s office.
Councilmembers questioned the actual costs and budgeted funds to try to determine if this could be done. It was noted that the funds budgeted in the City Attorney’s office for a part-time attorney to handle the Municipal Court issues would be used to partially fund the new position as that position would then be handling these issues.
Councilmember Jackle questioned what litigation was being handled by outside attorneys retained by Human Resources and Mr. Huttl noted it was for an arbitration hearing.
Mayor Wheeler suggested that this be looked at during the November Budget Committee meeting to allow staff time to provide the details of the actual monies involved. Councilmember Jackle noted he would prefer this be addressed during the public hearing on the budget.
Mr. Swanson and Ms. Chan both commented that this was one of the budget issues that was presented at the department head review and was not moved forward. The Budget Committee recommended looking at this issue at the November Budget Committee meeting.
Councilmember Jackle requested information from Mike Snyder, Human Resources Director. Mr. Snyder addressed the Council and provided information on the selection of a Las Vegas attorney to represent the City in the arbitration hearing. He noted that while the Human Resources does have funds for outside legal counsel, it is approximately $20,000 of their budget. He spoke in support of the need for funding of the Executive Assistant in his department as was recommended by the Budget Committee.
Councilmembers discussed the potential to modify the adopted budget after the November Budget Committee meeting and Ms. Chan noted that this can be done. Mayor Wheeler noted that the November meeting of the Budget Committee will be open to the public and that is an appropriate time to begin looking at the additional budget requests.
Public hearing closed.
Motion: Adopt the resolution approving of the proposed budget in the amount of $348,750,520. The details which are contained in the budget document, summarized in the presentation by the budget officer and as amended by the Budget Committee.
Moved by: Daniel Bunn Seconded by: Michael Zarosinski
Councilmember Bunn spoke to his motion and noted that he does not feel an amendment is appropriate at this time but supports the needs of the departments including the City Attorney. Councilmember Jackle agreed but noted that the City Attorney’s office does need to have the position filled. Councilmember Corcoran spoke to the request by Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. for the increased dues and that this was on hold till the November meeting as well. He noted that he felt the reported peer review process was flawed.
Roll Call: Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Michael Zarosinski, Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Clay Bearnson and Kevin Stine voting yes.
Resolution 2015-57 was duly adopted.
65.2 COUNCIL BILL 2015-58 A resolution certifying that the City of Medford is eligible to receive state-shared revenues and elects to receive state revenues for fiscal year 2015-16.
Alison Chan, Finance Director provided a staff report and noted this action is taken on an annual basis as required by the State.
Public hearing opened.
Public hearing closed.
Motion: Adopt the resolution certifying that the City of Medford is eligible to receive state-shared revenues and elects to receive state revenues for fiscal year 2015-16.
Moved by: Kevin Stine Seconded by: Daniel Bunn
Roll Call: Councilmembers Kevin Stine, Daniel Bunn, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Michael Zarosinski, Chris Corcoran and Clay Bearnson voting yes.
Resolution 2015-58 was duly adopted.
70. Council Business
70.1 Resignation from Planning Commission.
Councilmember Bunn noted that there was a resignation from the Planning Commission and he felt that Council should review the applications of those not appointed in January. He will ask staff to send out the applications and then if Council wishes to nominate someone from that group, they should contact the individual to verify they are still interested before discussion at the next meeting.
70.2 Councilmember Gordon addressed the Mayor requesting to make a motion.
Motion: Move to terminate the City Manager’s contract effective immediately.
Moved by: Dick Gordon Seconded by: Chris Corcoran
Motion: Call for the question.
Moved by: Chris Corcoran
Roll Call: Councilmembers Chris Corcoran, Dick Gordon, Eli Matthews and Clay Bearnson voting yes. Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Tim Jackle, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski voting no. Mayor Wheeler broke the tie voting no.
Councilmember Gordon spoke to his motion; he noted he had difficulty with Mr. Swanson during his term as Council President; he felt Mr. Swanson dictated “it was his way or no way”; he felt Mr. Swanson wanted to separate Council Officers from the full Council to avoid full Council participation in decision making. Councilmember Gordon stated he had found Mr. Swanson to be very disrespectful. Councilmember Gordon did noted that while Mr. Swanson has gotten the City and Council moving forward with large capital improvement projects he felt Mr. Swanson had a lot of help from Councilmember Gordon and former Councilmember Al Densmore in finding funding solutions via utility fees. Councilmember Gordon noted that he does not feel that Mr. Swanson is honest and he does not trust him. He stated that Mr. Swanson violates Councilmember Gordon’s work values and has limited integrity. He is insensitive to others including the Council, public and some members of the employee staff. Councilmember Gordon stated that Mr. Swanson’s “his way or the highway” approach has been an issue for some time and that he had discussed this with other Councilmembers in the past. Councilmember Gordon spoke to the issues during the recent Budget Committee meeting as well as the Travel Medford contract for him making this motion. He noted that when Mr. Swanson was apprised of continuing errors and incomplete information in staff work on Agenda Item Commentaries and documentation provided to Council for decision making, Mr. Swanson stated he would not spend his time reviewing this information. Councilmember Gordon also spoke to Mr. Swanson’s lack of transparency to the general public and Council.
Councilmember Stine noted that before he was on Council he had seen the information from previous media articles but took that at face value and reserved judgment for himself as a Councilmember. He noted that the recent issue at the Budget Committee meeting when Mr. Swanson shut down the department heads from making presentations on or discussing their Budget Issues (from the level 2 list) he felt that was inappropriate. He stated that it felt like the Budget Committee was being forced to accept the City Manager’s recommendation. He will be supporting the motion.
Councilmember Jackle noted that while he personally likes Mr. Swanson he feels that there is too much of a divide between the City Manager and the majority of the Council. He spoke to the “disconnect” between the will of the Council and the City Manager and that he would be supporting the motion.
Councilmember Matthews noted that he feels a decision on what is best for the City of Medford needs to be made. He expressed that he has seen a growing culture that City Hall exists to be served by the people versus that it exists to serve the people. He feels there has been too much control exhibited in the City Manager’s office and not enough collaboration. While his personal experience with Mr. Swanson has been good, he does not feel that Mr. Swanson is the best fit for the community. He noted that he felt the Council has given this working relationship a good shot but that at this point he will be supporting the motion.
Councilmember Bunn noted that he is in a different position as the Council President; but he feels that while the feelings expressed are genuine; he objects to the statement made by Councilmember Gordon in that the Council Officers have worked very hard to ensure that issues are brought to the full Council for consideration and decision making.
Councilmember Corcoran concurred with Councilmember Bunn in the effort that the Council Officers have taken to be transparent. He spoke to the issues with Mr. Swanson that have existed and been addressed for two years but that these issues have not been rectified. He feels that the Budget Committee meeting and discussion was the last example that drove the issue home and he will be supporting the motion.
Councilmember Bearnson noted that he felt the Budget Issues had been vetted but were still up for full discussion at the Budget Committee meeting. He noted that what he sees on the policy level is a change of ideas and that this has been needed; he feels things in Medford have been getting better; he will not be supporting the motion.
Councilmember Zarosinski noted that while he does not have the history with the City Manager and he appreciates the discussion. He spoke to what he has seen and that that he would prefer to try to work on this with the City Manager but he sees that there are long standing feelings that are not going away. How he votes on this issue is not necessarily reflective of what he would do on a one-on-one basis but he feels he needs to vote based on what is best for the City.
Mayor Wheeler noted that his relationship with Mr. Swanson is different and that he feels it has been nothing but open and honest. He noted that this issue has been bubbling for two years and that some Councilmembers have been internalizing some anger. He agrees with Councilmembers Bunn and Corcoran that the Council Officers have been making sure to bring issues to the full Council for discussion and decision making. He noted that there is usually additional Councilmembers attending the meetings as well. He noted he does not see any integrity issues with Mr. Swanson; he feels the issue with Travel Medford is a separate issue. He spoke to his issues with Travel Medford and that perhaps he should take some of the blame for the issues with them. He feels the issues are being resolved. He has not experienced any communication issues with Mr. Swanson. He noted that a divided Council will be difficult for us to function unless there is a change; that could be a change in City Councilmembers. He noted that this issue could have been managed in an Executive Session review of the City Manager.
Mayor Wheeler wanted to give Mr. Swanson some time to respond and noted that this could be taken into executive session if there was any desire to do so.
Mr. Swanson addressed the Council and stated that he has had three years tenure here and worked with some great folks. He stated that he feels the record shows that a lot has been accomplished. He understands the concerns and normally we address this in executive session so we can address these concerns from both sides; but he is not getting that today. He spoke to the community’s commitment to him three years ago, spoke to issues that he inherited when he started and these have been addressed. Mr. Swanson noted he took exception with issues of trust, honesty, integrity. He stated that he felt that this was arising from a personality difference. He spoke to comments made by the Council at the last meeting that were outside of the decorum of any City Council. He spoke to his concern for his family and this is very frustrating for him; he felt it was a huge letdown. He thanked those who have been supporting him and spoke to the things they have established under his leadership. He has performed to the best of his ability and did not feel that disagreements within the Council should not reflect on him or his abilities. He works at the will of the Council but feels the community went through a process to bring him here.
Roll Call: Councilmembers Dick Gordon, Chris Corcoran, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine and Michael Zarosinski voting yes. Councilmembers Daniel Bunn and Clay Bearnson voting no.
Motion passed and so ordered.
Mayor Wheeler noted that he will need to sit down with legal and Mr. Swanson to determine next steps.
Councilmember Corcoran requested Mr. Swanson remove himself from dais; he was no longer the City Manager as he had been terminated.
*Mr. Swanson left the meeting.
Councilmember Bunn confirmed that the Mayor will appoint an interim City Manager and then the Council will need to action to initiate a search for a new City Manager.
80. City Manager and other staff reports
80.1 Further reports from City Manager
90. Propositions and remarks from the Mayor and Councilmembers
90.1 Proclamations issued:
90.2 Further Council committee reports.
90.3 Further remarks from Mayor and Councilmembers.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 1:39 p.m.
The proceedings of the City Council meeting were recorded and are filed in the City Recorder's office. The complete agenda of this meeting is filed in the City Recorder's office.