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Smart Voter
Sonoma County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Measure T
Charter Amendments
City of Santa Rosa

Charter Amendments - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 39,620 / 76.5% Yes votes ...... 12,176 / 23.5% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 17 1:47pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (64/64)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall amendments to the Santa Rosa City Charter be adopted that reorganize, update and clarify certain sections relating to the Charter Review, Mayor, Budget, Elections, Council Vacancy, Public Library, and Pensions?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
Measure T, if approved by a majority of those voting on the measure, will amend, delete, reorganize, and add provisions to the Santa Rosa City Charter as follows:

Moves language in Section 6 "Meetings of the City Council" regarding the seating of new Council members after an election to Section 30 "Elections," amends the wording to be consistent with State law, and moves provisions in that section re- garding the appointment of the Mayor to Section 15 "Mayor."

Adds a provision to Section 15 on the appointment of the Mayor to provide that if a Council member fulfills the unexpired term of a prior Mayor for a year or less, such service shall not bar the Council member from serving as Mayor for purposes of the consecutive term limits on the position of Mayor.

Clarifies Section 12 regarding the Charter Review to require appointments to the Charter Review Committee be made consistent with Section 11 of the Charter re- garding diversity and in accordance with Council policies on board and commission appointments.

Changes the date of the public hearing on the City's budget under Section 28 from January to no later than March 31.

Extends the time under Section 31 for the City Council to fill a Council vacancy from 30 to 60 days to be consistent with State law. Provides that the public library services under Section 33 may be provided through a joint powers agreement with other public agencies.

Authorizes the City to use qualified IRS retirement plans other than CalPERS. Any change to the City's retirement system or benefits would by State law be subject to meet and confer requirements with the employee bargaining units.

The provisions of Measure T are based on recommendations of the Santa Rosa Charter Review Committee, composed of 21 citizens appointed by the City Council to review the Charter and unanimously adopted by the City Council following its consideration of these recommendations.

s/ Caroline L. Fowler
City Attorney

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Arguments For Measure T
Every ten years as required by the City Charter, a committee is appointed to review and make recommendations for changes to the City Charter. Last year, the Council appointed a committee of 21 citizens to undertake this task. In addition to the separate ballot measures on specific issues, the Charter Review Committee also recommended a number of amendments that are reflected in this measure to reorganize, update and clarify certain sections of the City Charter as detailed in the text of the measure.

Changes have been recommended to clarify the timing of the seating of new council members after an election and also to extend the time for the council to appoint a council person to fill a vacancy to be consistent with state law. Language is also being added to clarify the application of term limits for the position of Mayor if a council member is required to take over as Mayor if the current Mayor is unable to complete his or her term.

In addition, the measure proposes to change language in the Charter, as recommended by the Mayor's Pension Reform Task Force, to allow the City the ability to use approved IRS retirement systems other than the CalPERS system if negotiated with its bargaining units.

Language is also being proposed which would make clear that we want the Charter Review Committee to reflect the diversity of our community and be appointed in the same manner as other board and commission members.

The measure further updates provisions relating to the Public Library and Budget process.

Vote yes on Measure T and improve City government.

s/ Ernesto Olivares, Mayor

s/ Michael D. Senneff
Chair, Charter Review Committee

(No arguments against Measure T were submitted)

Full Text of Measure T

Shall Sections 12, 15, 28, 30, 31, 33, and 49 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa be amended to read as set forth below?

Section1. Section 12 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 12. Charter Review. This Charter shall be reviewed in the year 2002 and not less than every ten years thereafter by a committee to be appointed by Council in accordance with Section 11 (a) and existing Council Policies on the appointment of Boards, Commissions and Committees.

Section2. Section15 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 15. Mayor. At the Council meeting at which any Council member is installed following any general or special municipal election, and at any time when there is a vacancy in the office of Mayor, the City Council shall meet and shall elect one of its members as its presiding officer, who shall have the title of Mayor. The Mayor shall serve for a term of two years or until a successor is chosen, unless earlier removed by the Council. The Council, at the time it selects a Mayor and during each November in odd numbered years, shall choose one of its number as Vice-Mayor, who shall serve as Mayor Pro Tem in the absence, sickness or other disability of the Mayor. The Vice-Mayor shall serve for a term of one year or until a successor is chosen, unless earlier removed by the Council. The Mayor and Vice-Mayor shall hold their respective offices subject to the pleasure of the Council. A Council member may not serve consecutive terms as Mayor. If a Mayor fails to complete a full term, the Council member elected to fill out the remainder of the unexpired term shall not be barred from serving a consecutive term as Mayor thereafter if the remaining term filled was one year or less.

The Mayor shall be the executive head of the City. In case of riot, insurrection or extraordinary emergencies the Mayor shall assume general control of the City's government and all of its branches, and shall be responsible for the suppression of disorders and the restoration of normal conditions. The Mayor shall sign all ordinances and resolutions and, as authorized and directed by the Council, other legal instruments on behalf of the City. The Mayor shall have the power and authority:

(a) To preside over meetings of the Council and to vote as a member of the Council.

(b) To establish the agendas for Council meetings with the assistance of the City Manager.

(c) To appoint committees of the Council and Council committee chairpersons.

(d) To appoint chairpersons of the City's boards, commissions, and committees with the approval of the majority of the Council.

(e) To deliver annually a state of the City address in which he or she articulates policy and vision for the City.

(f) To act as the ceremonial representative of the City and spokesperson of the City.

(g) To make appointments to all county, regional and state bodies on which the City is represented with the approval of the majority of the Council.

(h) To act as chief negotiator on behalf of the City with county, regional, state and federal bodies and agencies.

Section3. Section 28 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 28. Budget.

(a) Not later than January 1st of each year, the Council shall publish a summary of the current year's adopted budget, along with places where copies of the current year's adopted budget are available for public review. Not later than March 31st of each year and prior to any annual goal setting meeting held by the Council, the Council shall hold a public hearing seeking oral and written comment from the public on budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. The notice of the public hearing shall be published twice, the first not earlier than 31 days prior to the hearing and the second not later than five (5) days prior to the hearing. The notices shall be published at least seven (7) days apart.

(b) The City Manager shall submit a proposed budget to the Council for the maintenance, operations, and capital improvement for all City departments and funds each fiscal year. The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year and, except as required by law or this Charter, shall be in such a form as the City Manager deems desirable or the Council may require. The budget shall begin with a clear general summary of its contents; shall show in detail all estimated income and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the ensuing fiscal year, and shall be so arranged as to show comparative figures for actual and estimated income and expenditures for the current fiscal year and actual income and expenditures of the preceding two fiscal years.

(c) Prior to adopting the budget, the Council shall publish a general summary of the proposed budget and a notice stating:

(1) The times and places where copies of the proposed budget are available for review by the public; and

(2) The time and place, not less than two weeks after such publication, of a public hearing to be held by the Council on the proposed budget.

(d) The Council shall adopt the budget on or before the last day of June of each year. If it fails to adopt the budget by this date, the budget proposed by the City Manager shall go into effect. The Council may revise or amend the budget from time to time during the fiscal year it is in effect.

Section4. Section 30 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 30. Elections. General municipal elections of the City shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. All elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or hereafter may be amended, for the holding of municipal elections, so far as the same are not in conflict with this Charter. Elections shall be conducted pursuant to the election laws of the state as the same relate to municipal elections.

Section5. Section 31 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 31. Council Vacancy.

(a) A Council vacancy may be filled by appointment by the Council or the Council may call a special election to fill the vacancy. If the Council fails to fill a Council vacancy within sixty days after it occurs, the Council shall then call a special election to be held as soon as practicable.

(b) If for any reason the seats of a majority of the Council shall become vacant, the City Clerk shall then call a special election to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms, such election to be conducted substantially in the manner provided for by the general laws of the state.

(c) An appointee shall hold office until a successor is elected for the unexpired term at the next municipal election or until a successor is elected at a special election held in accordance with this section. Any person elected to the Council pursuant to this section shall serve the balance of the unexpired term.

(d) If any officer of the City shall remove himself or herself from the City or absent himself or herself therefrom for more than thirty days consecutively without the prior permission of the Council or shall fail to qualify or shall resign or be convicted of a felony or adjudged incompetent, his or her office shall thereupon become vacant.

(e) The Council may, by ordinance, provide the detailed procedure for carrying out the provisions of this Section.

Section6. Section 33 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 33. Public Library. The free public library of the City shall be managed under and in accordance with the provisions of the general laws of the State of California relating to free public libraries. The City may provide such services through a joint powers agreement with other public entities if approved by the City Council.

Section7. Section 49 of the Charter of the City of Santa Rosa is revised to read as follows:

Sec. 49. Pensions. If and when any such coverage is possible under the laws of the State of California and the laws of the United States, the Council may provide for inclusion of City employees, officials or members of the police or fire department in the benefits of the Federal Social Security Act as now or hereafter amended or superseded, and the Council may for and on behalf of the City, enter into such contracts or agreements with the State of California or the federal government of the United States or any agency, department or officer of the state or federal government, make such payments, incur such obligations and take such other action as necessary to accomplish coverage of City employees, officials or members of the police or fire department under the Federal Social Security Act.

The Council may enter into a contract with the Board of Administration of the State's Public Employees' Retirement System or other Retirement Systems or fiduciary providing for IRS Qualified retirement and death and disability benefits plans for persons in the employ of the City.

Section 8. Enumeration of New Powers. This proposed Charter Amendment does not result in any new powers for the City and does not grant any new power to the Council to increase its own compensation or the compensation of other City officials. The proposed amendments would grant the City the power to use an IRS approved retirement system other than the California Public Employees Retirement System. The City would still be required by law to negotiate any proposed changes to the retirement benefits with its employee bargaining units.

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:47 PST
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