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Zuber pushes for posting council packet

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POSTED April 29, 2013 1:17 a.m.

The agenda of a Ripon City Council meeting is often made up of the consent calendar, ordinances, resolutions, and discussion items.

Councilman Leo Zuber had concerns about that format. Specifically, he inquired at a workshop held last Tuesday on what determines a consent calendar item.

“Half the agenda is on the consent calendar and is taken (for approval) in one vote,” Zuber said. “The public does not know what just happened.”

 According to Deputy City Administrator Kevin Werner, the council agenda has evolved over the years, with the consent calendar used to make the meeting run as efficient as possible. Most are routine items – change orders, progress payments, and other invoices – or items that were previously discussed.

“Anything on the consent calendar can be pulled and discussed separately,” said Werner, who noted that income items included in the agenda are for informational purposes.

City Attorney Thomas Terpstra added that there’s no set way to do a consent calendar.

“We only post the bigger invoices because we’re trying to be efficient,” he said. “Some items (on the consent calendar) do need action, some are just for information, but all are routine – council votes and we move on.”

Based on the reaction he gets from citizens, Zuber indicated the consent calendar has gotten routine to the point that they usually don’t know what’s going on. “They don’t understand the resolution about transferring money from one account to another,” he said, as an example.

The public can request any item on the consent calendar to be pulled for discussion, Werner added.

Zuber said that part should be explained to the public at the meetings, possibly by Mayor Dean Uecker.

He also requested that the council packet, in addition to the agenda, be published on the city website.

Staff, meanwhile, was directed to add language about the consent calendar to the next agenda, with the council packet also being made available at

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