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Council transition committee still working

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by Jo Clifton

City Council Member Ann Kitchen, chair of the Council Transition Committee – often called the committee on committees – is hoping that the other four members of her committee will show up at this morning’s 8 a.m. meeting but that other Council members will stay away. That’s because, Kitchen said, the city’s agenda office failed to post the meeting’s agenda in time for a gathering of a quorum of Council. There are five members on the committee: Kitchen, Mayor Steve Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council members Greg Casar and Leslie Pool.

Kitchen said Monday that she had no indication that a sixth Council member would attend the meeting but that if one did show up, she might have to cancel the meeting even though the agenda had already been posted. She said she plans to have an additional committee meeting – which will be posted – before Jan. 26.

Members of the Transition Committee, which is an ad hoc committee in addition to the 10 other regular Council committees, are working on a written report to be presented to the full Council at a work session either on Jan. 26 or in early February, Kitchen said. It has been somewhat difficult to keep up with the committee’s discussions because they are neither broadcast nor recorded. Kitchen pointed out that other Council members and the public can read minutes of the meetings.

Various Council members have suggested that there are too many committees and that they have too many meetings.

Kitchen said the committee is working on logistical questions, such as how to handle public input at committee and Council meetings. “We have the benefit of a year’s worth of experience now, so we’re asking questions like, ‘How often do we need to meet?'”

Kitchen, who also chairs the Council Mobility Committee, indicated that that committee would meet only eight times this year, instead of the possible 12 times.

She also provided a chart showing that various other committee chairs were planning on fewer committee meetings this year as well. For example, Council Member Ellen Troxclair has selected nine dates for the Economic Opportunity Committee; Pool plans eight meetings for the Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee; Council Member Don Zimmerman has listed only five meetings for the Public Safety Committee; and Council Member Ora Houston plans six meetings for the Health and Human Services Committee, according to the chart. Council Member Pio Renteria has also indicated that the Housing and Community Development committee will meet just six times this year.

Council Member Delia Garza is apparently planning eight meetings for the Public Utilities Committee. That leaves Casar’s committee, the Planning and Neighborhoods Committee, still showing 12 meetings and the Audit and Finance Committee, chaired by Tovo, with 11 meetings. All of these, of course, are subject to change.

Austin City Hall Aug2010” by M.FitzsimmonsOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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