Mayor Riley Hill goes solo on appointing committee members

David Armstrong speaks to members of the Ontario City Council about why he would like to serve again on the Budget Committee during the council's first regular meeting of the month on Jan. 11. Ontario Mayor Riley Hill ultimately picked Lynn Johnson over Armstrong, in action decided upon without input from the rest of the council members.

ONTARIO — Included in special action for the Ontario City Council on its Jan. 11 meeting agenda was appointment of committees, which was done in quick fashion at the top of the meeting by Mayor Riley Hill with no input from the councilors.

Two of the open positions had more than one applicant, which was noted by Councilor Michael Braden at the end of the meeting, when he noted that the council’s input was not sought by the mayor.

“We skipped on the committee appointments, any discussion or ability for the council to ratify your appointments,” Braden said to Hill. “And I know we have had discussions in the past on those rules, but this was a departure from common practice. … I would have liked to have a voice and opinion, especially on the two contested ones. I think a healthy discussion would have served us well.”

“I had similar comments about department heads when they were hired,” Hill replied.

He was referencing how he wanted the city charter changed to allow council input on hiring of department heads, which was shot down by the council at its sole meeting in December.

Due to the difference of opinion on whether council members should have input on committee appointments, Braden requested that Ontario City Manager Adam Brown have Jeremy Green with BL&J Lawyers out of Bend, the city’s new attorney, look further into the matter.

“I haven’t gotten an answer yet,” Brown said on Monday afternoon, noting that while Green was at the meeting, the rule regarding committee appointments pertains to council rules which the lawyer is looking into.

Hill’s appointments

There were seven people who expressed interest in filling open seats on city boards, commissions and committees. There were no applicants for the Airport or Diversity committees.

For the Budget Committee, which had one opening, there were two applicants, David Armstrong and Lynn Johnson. Both took turns speaking briefly to the council about their interest.

Armstrong noted that he had been appointed to the position last time and would be honored to serve again, taking time to “read every single page of every single budget.”

Johnson said he had applied due to his involvement with the Parks Committee, where he had come to realized that “we need to have advocates in the budget process.”

Hill thanked Armstrong for his service in the past, then stated, “Maybe it’s time for new blood, so I’m going to appoint Lynn Johnson for that.”

On the Parks Committee, there was only one applicant for the two open positions. One of those was Michael Miller, who Hill reappointed, noting “we appreciate” the work Miller does at Four Rivers Cultural Center.

As with the Budget Committee, the Planning Commission had one seat open with two applicants, Cydney Cooke who has served on the commission for one year, and former city councilor Michael Allen, who stated on his application that he’d “always been interested in land use laws and how they’re applied.”

Hill selected Allen without providing his reason.

For the Public Works Committee, two seats were up, with only one person expressing interest in serving again. That was Jackson Fox, who did not send a formal request for appointment. Rather, his was a note to the council dated Jan. 6 that read, “I am willing to serve another term on the Public Works Committee.”

For the Visitor & Chambers Committee, Hill reappointed Robert Quinn and Terry Dols, who currently serve on that committee and who were also the only applicants.

According to Quinn’s application, he has been the chairman from 1997 to present and has served on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Board for 36 years. Dols’ application states that he has served on the committee for 1.5 years and looks forward to continue building on the work in which he’s been involved.

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