As City Council members considered the formation of a committee to study construction of a new pool or repairing the existing facility, a former councilman encouraged them to discuss business in public “with the lights on.”
At its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13, council approved having the city clerk and city attorney draft a resolution to create an ad hoc committee to review alternatives for repairing the city pool or constructing a new one as well as how to finance the work. It will include two council members and up to seven community members.
During public comment, Duncan McCoy, who served two terms on the council, said he hoped the members would follow normal procedures for soliciting committee volunteers, which includes reading their names into the public record, why they want to be on it and why they feel qualified.
“In the event that volunteer interest applications are solicited for this committee … I think that the public has a right to know whether those appointees are members of the (Boulder City) Community Alliance or not,” he said. “Particularly since the alliance has moved to form its own pool committee, independent of the city.”
Mayor Kiernan McManus, Councilman James Howard Adams and Councilwoman Tracy Folda are members of the BCCA Facebook page, which is a closed group. Folda is also one of the group’s founders.
Those who want to join it must be accepted by an administrator. The group also holds meetings that are open to the public.
McCoy said the alliance has the right to form whatever committees it wants to, but the city also has a “responsibility to ensure that city business is transacted in front of the public with the lights on.”
“Imagine, if you will, the community alliance appointing a committee to study the pool and then by some weird quirk of fate that same committee gets appointed by the city, and then they have an open meeting law problem if they want to get together and discuss it in a context outside of a scheduled meeting,” he said. “So I would urge you to be careful about that.”
At a recent training session, POOL/PACT Executive Director Wayne Carlson said it could be a problem for council members to be part of the BCCA group because there are enough of them to constitute a quorum.
McManus had requested that formation of the pool committee be put on the agenda and said its purpose was to have members with financial, construction and swimming experience work on the project.
“I believe it would serve the community best,” he said.
He also addressed the comments made about the alliance.
“I think it’s necessary to remind the community that when people start talking about things happening out of the public view … the public law is very clear about that, and what it primarily is talking about is financial advantage … . So to talk about the community alliance as though that’s some group out there that has some influence over anyone on this council, there is no financial influence,” he said. “There is no member to the alliance that I’m aware of. There’s no dues paid. There’s no funds raised.”
Additionally, McManus said council members can speak to the public about filling a need on city committees.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, members of the alliance had posted about forming a committee to talk about the community’s pool needs and the cost of those needs. It was also brought up at its July 10 meeting.
The Boulder City pool is almost 40 years old and needs to be replaced, said Parks and Recreation Department Director Roger Hall two years ago. In June’s election, residents voted against allowing up to $40 million of general obligation bonds be issued to pay for a new aquatic facility as well as $5 million from the capital improvement fund to design it.
McManus said the city now needs to look at how much taxpayers are willing to pay for a new facility as well as if the project could be done in phases. He also said adding this new committee is not an attack on the Boulder City Parks and Recreation Commission.
“They’re covering a wide range of things,” he said. “My proposal is having a committee focused on this project.”
He also suggested that he and Adams be the two council members to serve on the committee, as Adams had been on a swim team in elementary and middle school.
Councilman Warren Harhay said he had nothing against them being on the committee, but the proper selection process should be followed.
McManus said it was just a suggestion, not a proposal.
Council unanimously approved having the resolution to form this committee. It will have two members of council, who will not having voting power, and up to seven community members with voting power. The emphasis for members should be those with financial and construction experience. It will meet at least monthly for one year.
There will be also be city staff support or a liaison appointed, and the normal procedure for appointing members will be followed.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.