City council OKs ballot title measure

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer January 01, 2014 10:45 am

City policies being updated by pro-tem administrator

ELGIN — The City of Elgin approved a ballot title for a measure for the May 2014 election during an Elgin City Council special session Monday night.

If passed the measure will change Elgin’s city administrator/recorder position from an elected position to an appointed one.

City councilors have noted that Elgin is the only city in Oregon with an elected administrator position. They have expressed concern over the lack of authority they have over an elected administrator.

Also at the special session, the city council tabled approving an intergovernmental agreement with the State of Oregon regarding the Safe Routes to School project. To complete the sidewalk project, the land must be owned by the city, but Stella Mayfield currently owns the land. That means the school would need to donate the land, or it would need to be taken by eminent domain.

“They haven’t donated it yet,” said Laird Allen, pro-tem administrator. “Their plan up until this point is to donate it.”

Some councilors voiced concern over taking the land saying the school had been very involved in winning the grant.

The council was also concerned about the city’s liability and financial responsibility associated with the project and wanted to get more information before signing the contract.

The Safe Routes project, though behind schedule, is slated to be completed by Dec. 1, 2014.

Following the special session, the Elgin City Council met in a work session, largely to discuss internal policies ranging from personnel policy and vacation leave to signature authority for disbursing funds. Allen drafted new policies for council discussion, some of which councilors took a while to warm up to.

“It’s an organizational structure,” Allen said when describing that the public works director should report to the city manager.

“Our problem was having a micromanager as administrator,” Councilor Allan Duffy said.

Allen told councilors the structure would bring accountability to the city.