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Council not wild about screening board volunteers

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POSTED May 4, 2011 1:35 a.m.

RIPON – The City of Ripon has experienced very few problems in the past with those who volunteer their time to serve on a commission.

So said the Ripon City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’ve seen a few not re-appointed,” said Councilman Garry Krebbs, who indicated that those reasons were mostly performance based.

He and his colleagues are in the early stages of looking into a process of conducting annual performance and achievement evaluations for all council-appointed commission members, who could also be required to undergo criminal and credit background screenings.

Staff drafted the proposals, as recommended by a grand jury, for discussion. “Some government agencies work independently of the council,” said City Attorney Tom Terpstra.

According to the draft, the Council’s objective for conducting performance and achievement evaluations are as follows:

• Ensure advisory capacity for achieving excellence in the City of Ripon.

• Develop and sustain a harmonious working relationship between the Council and commission members through honest and constructive communication regarding goals and performance.

• Clarify and align the expectations of the Council and commission members with the City’s codes and regulations.

• Foster an understanding among Council members and the community of the evaluation process not to mention their goals and priorities.

Elected officials, however, believe that not all of the grand jury recommendations apply to Ripon.

“We have a system in place that works,” Mayor Elden “Red” Nutt said.

By that, he and his fellow council members already have some knowledge of those appointed to a commission.

Still, they’re not totally against a screening and annual evaluation process.

“I don’t disagree with the procedure but not as recommended,” Councilman Chuck Winn said. “I think something less complicated would work here.”

Council members continue to count their blessings that community members often step up by volunteering their time to serve on a commission.

“You don’t want to impose any unnecessary barriers,” Terpstra said. “We’ll revamp (the proposals) and bring it back at a later date.”

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