Vacancies mean changes for city committee rules

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KEIZERTIMES/File photo

KEIZERTIMES/File photo

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Non-Keizer residents will be allowed to serve on more than two city committees, as long as conditions are met.

That was the consensus reached following a joint work session last month between members of the Keizer City Council and the Volunteer Coordinating Committee last month.

The issue had come up again since Sherrie Gottfried, the former Renaissance Inn employee now living and working in Salem, applied to sit on a third Keizer committee, the Traffic Safety/Bikeways/Pedestrian Committee.

Mayor Lore Christopher noted non-city residents such as Rick Day, Bob Zielinski and Jim Parent do a lot of volunteering in Keizer.

“Those are examples I would draw out as good reasons to appoint people who don’t live in Keizer to Keizer boards and committees,” she said. “We want to cast the net broad. We want as many people involved as we can. Ideally, people would be clamoring to be on advisory boards. But the reality is some seats go vacant and stay vacant.”

VCC member Chet Patterson said there should be some limits on what boards non-residents should be allowed on.

“My feeling is there have to be some exceptions,” Patterson said. “For example, not on Planning Commission and Budget Committee. But something like the Bikeways committee, a lot of bike people could bring expertise to the committee. To me, that far outweighs them not being a resident.”

While the group agreed non-residents should not be on a committee or board with control of city finances, council president Joe Egli suggested an expansion of the term Keizer resident.

“If you’re operating a business here, pay taxes here or live in Keizer, you should be to have a say,” Egli said. “If you’re not one of those three, there should be a limit. I would limit such people to no more than one per committee.”

Others agreed with that set of definitions.

Following the joint discussion, VCC members held their regular meeting and recommended Gottfried to the traffic safety committee. That decision was confirmed by councilors on Monday,

Gottfried will serve a one-year term that expires at the end of the year.

“They wanted to put her in as a stop gap measure, hence the short term,” Christopher said. “She’s trying to move back to Keizer.”

The mayor also noted four of the nine seats on the committee had been vacant, with Gottfried the only one applying to fill a seat.

“I didn’t realize we had nine seats on that committee,” Christopher said. “I thought it was seven. Council, it is a big rock to push up a big hill. I don’t think we need nine people on that committee.”

City Attorney Shannon Johnson said staff will look into the idea of lowering the committee size to seven people.

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