OCEANSIDE — City Council voted to dissolve the Integrated Waste Commission and give its responsibilities of advisement and implementing solid waste and recycling programs to the Utilities Commission on Sept. 25.
Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted against dissolving the commission.
“Putting these two together doesn’t make sense.” Sanchez said. “We need our commissioners. We need to hear from the public.”
The recommendation to dissolve the commission was made at the Aug. 21 City Council meeting. During that meeting, Sanchez voiced concern that eliminating the commission would diminish public input on matters that include city budgets and contracts.
One reason to dissolve the commission is to save city staff time.
At the August meeting Sanchez said less citizen involvement will raise more questions from residents and end up taking additional staff time to answer those questions.
“It ensures there’s a public eye to this,” Sanchez said. “Cutting out public input isn’t going to decrease staff time — it’s going to increase it.”
At the same meeting, Wood said reduction of city commissions and committees from 27 to 15 has raised citizen complaints.
Speakers at the Sept. 25 meeting also voiced concern that dissolving the commission would reduce public input.
Integrated Waste commissioner Nadine Scott said the recommendation to dissolve the commission was personal.
Scott has taken pro-environmental stands against numerous recommendations Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller have supported.
She said Kern, Felien and Feller wanted to remove her from the commission and appoint Erin Morin, but found out they could not do that.
“You didn’t want me on the commission,” Scott said. “You found out you can’t remove me unless you dissolve the commission.”
Scott also expressed her concern that the Zero Waste Strategic Resource Management Plan continue to be implemented.
Kern said the commission was dissolved to increase city efficiency.
Water Utilities director Cari Dale said dissolving the commission will save city staff meeting preparation time and this saved time can be used for implementation.
Jimmy Knott, vice chair of the Utilities Commission, said the commission would abide by council’s decision. He added that the commission already has a full plate and “something will have to go.”
The Integrated Waste Commission met up for seven one-hour sessions this year. Within that year, there was one action item for which the commission gave City Council a recommendation.
Dale said city staff would work with the Utilities Commission to bring them up to speed on integrated waste issues and guide them in finalizing the work plan for the year ahead.
“History and knowledge is not being lost,” Dale said. “The staff are experts on technology and implementation.”
Dale said the role of commissioners is to advise council on items.
“Some commissioners are very emotional, they have invested a lot of time and feel strongly about it,” Dale said. “I appreciate their work. I need to honor what the council directs us to do.”
Dale added commission meeting are open to the public to attend.
Filed Under: The Coast News