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Friday, February 3, 2012

Work Session to reveal Satisfaction Survey, Ethics Policy, and Sticky Points of Contract Negotiations ?

City Commission - Work Session
Tue., Feb. 7, 2012 from 5:00pm - 7:30pm @ Commission Room - City Hall
The Commission will discuss:
1. Proposed Citizen's Satisfaction Survey and survey document.
2. Proposed Ethics Policy.
3. Possible Health Insurance Options.

The City of Bloomfield Hills Commission has scheduled a “work session” for Tuesday May February 7th at 5 pm. Don’t let the name “work session” fool you. According to City Clerk Amy Burton here is no difference between a work session and a special meeting. Minutes of both are recorded as part of the permanent record. Items can be voted on at special meetings / work sessions, under the Open Meetings Act. The public is welcome to attend and attendance is well advised . In addition to publishing notice of the meeting on the City’s web site a mini agenda (an unusual but welcome additional) is provided as well. The topics listed are important and have generated public interest in the past.

The expenditures for a  $9500 Citizen’s satisfaction survey was approved at a December 6th 2011 5PM Special Meeting. This will be the public’s first chance to see to see the document, the format utilized, and the questions asked. The Jan 10th City Commission meeting in regards to agenda item 8 “The commission will discuss the topics / issues to be addressed in the
citizen’s satisfaction survey,” it was decided that Commissioner Sarah McClure and City Manager Jay Cravens would discuss the topics and issues in a conference call with the survey company Cobalt Communications. Next Tuesday’s meeting will the first opportunity residents have had to learn what those topics and issues are.

The Proposed Ethics Policy was presented at Jan 10th City Commission Meeting as agenda item 11. The commission will discuss the development of an ethics policy. After a brief discussion a committee consisting of Commissioner McClure, City Manger Jay Cravens, and City Clerk Amy Burton was appointed as a committee to research and discuss the matter further. Next Tuesday’s meeting will be the first opportunity residents have had to learn what the the committee has been discussing. Many residents have expressed an interest in this topic but have been invited  to the sub committee meetings. Permitting public attendance at the meetings is not mandatory under the Michigan Open meetings Act because one city commissioner is insufficient to form a quorum.

The third topic, Possible Health Insurance Options sounds rather innocuous doesn’t it ? It may relate to agenda item 15 presented at the Jan 10th meeting, “The Commission will move closed session to discuss union negotiations with the City Labor Attorney. City Manager Jay Cravens in
reference to June expiration dates of Department of Public Service (Police and Fire) and Department of Public Works Unions was quoted as saying, “we will be looking at health insurance as soon as possible.”

May 8th is the date of the City Election voters will chose between two incumbent city commissioners and possibly four challengers. A change of two commissioners a way from a generally acknowledged 4 to 1 majority could create a new 3 to 2 majority taking the City in a new direction.

The City’s most experienced officers, current Mayor Michael Zambricki, and commissioners Michael McCready and Pat Hardy whose terms expire in 2013 will continue. Any of them or the two commissioners elected in May could be the next Mayor who serves a one year term. While the Mayor
has no more powers than that any other City Commissioner, the Mayor elected by the City Commission after the City Election , will be the titular head of City’s negotiating team. Residents are well advised to ask this year’s crop of commission candidates who, if elected will they vote for Mayor. Prior to last year residents had no such opportunity as the position of Mayor was simply rotated among  commission members based on seniority.

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