At the Tuesday Richland City Council meeting councilmembers met with their newly hired consultant to discuss how to evaluate their interim city manager. The council also decided to plan a workshop on how to select proclamations since some people weren’t happy about their April 20 choice, National Infertility Awareness Week.
The agenda that the city posted on April 30 did not include the manager discussion, item 13. It was added later. Washington open meeting laws are notoriously lax and last minutes changes are allowed. According to RCW 42.30.077, “Nothing in this section prohibits subsequent modifications to agendas nor invalidates any otherwise legal action taken at a meeting where the agenda was not posted in accordance with this section.”
Consultant Marsha Fraser will be paid up to $20,800 to help the council evaluate the new interim city manager’s performance. Her contract goes to December 31, 2021, but after spending some time with the council she noted that it could take longer, maybe until January or February.
Councilmember Terry Christensen said that the council had to finish by December 31 because they had promised the interim city manager.
Fraser displayed two lists of competencies that the council committee of Councilmembers Michael Alvarez and Sandra Kent and Mayor Ryan Lukson had put together.
Councilmember Terry Christensen said, “Communication from the second list jumped right out at me.”
He added, “What we had before really, really was not good.” He continued, “Lots didn’t get before the city council.”
He indicated that the previous city manager had filtered information and communicated with some councilmembers more than others.
Councilmember Bob Thompson said that the council felt like the staff was making policy.
The consultant mentioned that there would be input from the interim city manager and staff. Some councilmembers frequently appear to have not read their packet material or have knowledge of the items on the agenda.