WeHo City Council Rejects Move to More Tightly Oversee City Hall

The two West Hollywood City Council members who opposed eliminating the controversial Council deputy system failed last night in an effort to create another system that Councilmember John Heilman said would interfere with the role of the city manager.

west hollywood city hall, disabilities advisory boardCouncil members John D’Amico and Lauren Meister proposed a system to track and report “adverse impacts” and feedback from residents who attend city board and commission meetings. Under their proposal, a city staff member attending a board or commission meeting would have to prepare a detailed report on the meeting, including any complaints or issues raised by those attending, within 24 hours of the meeting. Each city department also would have to designate a staff member to act as liaison to the Council. The city also would have to create a system that tracked complaints or issues raised by residents and the city’s response to them. Typically in a city organized like West Hollywood, the city council directly oversees the appointed city manager. All other city officials report to him and his subordinates. Generally city councils set policy while city managers execute that policy and oversee the day-to-day activities of city staffers who address residents’ concerns.

“I think it’s trying to tell Paul exactly how to do his job,” said Heilman, referring to City Manager Paul Arevalo. Heilman said he backed the idea of telling Council members more about what happens at board and commission meetings but did not think such as detailed reporting system was necessary. The Council passed his substitute motion to ask  Arevalo to develop a system for tracking responses to residents’ complaints.

D’Amico used the discussion of his proposal to lament the end of the deputy system and the removal of Michelle Rex, his deputy and former campaign manager.

“Since we got rid of the deputies my interface with the city has diminished to absolutely zero,” he said. “In the past I had one person who I could count on to provide fairly coherent readings of what happened at board and commission meetings.”

The Council voted in June to eliminate the deputy system, which was controversial because of the high salaries paid to Council deputies, their frequent disputes with one another and interference with the work of other city employees and their position as largely political appointees.

While he had opposed eliminating the deputy system, D’Amico supported the majorities decision to do so at the last minute. Meister was the only “no” vote.

0 0 vote
Article Rating

9 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jimmy Palmieri
4 years ago

I might humbly suggest discussions with your board members and commissioners, as we are there as your eyes and ears. This is simply another non issue, trying to be blown up into something that it’s not. If people know which board or commission to go to to speak about a problem, then certainly they know that there is a department and staff, that will, with an appointment, try to assist in any legal way possible. We can’t address public comment legally anyway. It;s a violation of the brown act.

Jeff Barge
Jeff Barge
4 years ago

You have to admit it: getting fairly coherent readings are a necessary part of her job.

Rob Bergstein
Rob Bergstein
4 years ago

I would say this to D’Amico and Meister….if you need someone to track any alleged adverse impacts at board and commission meetings, why are you trying to create a new position for that? The City already has that in place–each and every board and commission has a staff liaison who attends each and every meeting and takes minutes/notes. If you feel any alleged impacts are not being reflected in the minutes, just have Paul Aravelo instruct staff to include in the minutes any factual circumstances that they observe or that is discussed by the board members and commissioners as well… Read more »

Lynn
Lynn
4 years ago

In regard to incessant complaints don’t folks realize that one can’t keep annoying the animals and expect a positive result?

Showbiz Lady
Showbiz Lady
4 years ago

“Since we got rid of the deputies my interface with the city has diminished to absolutely zero,” he said. “In the past I had one person who I could count on to provide fairly coherent readings of what happened at board and commission meetings.”

Hey Councilman–that’s why you have appointees! If you want reports ask them for reports, otherwise stop crying. Equal work for Equal pay!

fine7760
4 years ago

Now that the deputy system has been eliminated along with their large salaries I believe its time to re-evaluate all the salaries paid to city employees especially department heads. I often thought the salaries that were paid at the MTA which I worked for 31 years were pretty good as compared to MTA contract lines employees. But as a department head at the MTA my salary was little more than half what the council deputies were being paid. And my responsibility included being on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week. I doubt if anyone working for the… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
4 years ago

Get back to Mike Gerle’s proposal.. ‘One Call to City Hall’ with educated staffers routing and logging calls that can be used for follow up and also used to see the numbers and types of calls that are coming into city hall for tracking purposes.

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
4 years ago

It seems to me that making city government more aware and responsive to residents’ concerns was the intention of this very reasonable proposal and I do not see how it “tells the City Manager how to do his job” except in the way that it really should. Tracking complaints, concerns and suggestions from residents and making sure they are passed on should be routine procedure for good government. It would have been great to maintain the deputy system (had it worked) but it was so utterly dysfunctional (council and city manager are to blame as much as some of the… Read more »

jeromecleary
4 years ago

The deputy system was always important for our city and unfortunately several bad recent incidents ruined a support system that is still very much needed