Monday, February 4, 2013

What You May Not Know: Week Of February 4

February 6 is the first Wednesday of the month, and as such the Common Council will meet at 7 pm at City Hall to discuss the following:

Human Resources:

Wednesday's big news will likely come from the report of the Human Resources Committee, where three of the four alderpersons present voted to deny the city's proposed non-union compensation and classification plan. At the 1/21 committee meeting there were again concerns expressed about the math involved in the proposed plan, and Carlson Consulting appears to have adopted a "take it or leave it" approach to the final result.

The city paid Carlson $60,000 to produce this recommendation, and it's both their opinion and the opinion of the city attorney that they've met their obligation and are no longer required to appear at committee meetings to defend or explain their work.

Given the questions surrounding the final result and the fact that Carlson has somewhat removed themselves from the conversation, it seems very unlikely that this plan will be adopted in full.


On Tuesday, January 22 the Utilities Committee voted to recommend approval of spending $6.4 million on the city's new "smart water meters," which will allow city staff to read meters from one location instead of having to send staff out, and voted not to allow citizens to opt out of receiving said meters. Citizens will still be able to apply for an exemption, but will have to appear before the Utilities Committee to make their case.

Both matters passed 4-0 in committee.

Public Works:

The Public Works Committee will meet at 6 pm Wednesday and their agenda includes an action item to approve spending $494,000 (plus a possible 10% contingency) to Statewide Raising to demolish the Washington Place apartment building located behind the City Center.

This and any other action items approved by the committee will appear on the full council's agenda an hour later.

Elsewhere in issues we've discussed previously: A few weeks ago I praised Alderman Christoph Wahl for a resolution that would require any non-emergency committee, commission or board meeting minutes to be posted for a minimum of 48 hours before the council could take action on them. The resolution was referred to the City Attorney to check on its legality, and his office has since issued a memo confirming that the council can take this action. As such, the resolution will likely be assigned to a committee Wednesday night, and could appear before the full council as soon as the February 20 meeting.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as a candidate for and a potential member of Appleton's City Council. There's a lot going on and a lot of information out there, but I'm happy to do everything I can to make these decisions and the discussions around them as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested.  

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