Consolidation task force set
The 30 members of a citizen-driven task force to review consolidated City government have been named and the group will begin its work Wednesday.
Legislation was introduced Tuesday, with a charge written by Council President Bill Gulliford to Council members.
Gulliford's charge is for the group to "undertake an in-depth review of the history, formation and operations of the consolidated government, including a full examination of all departments, divisions, boards, commissions, and independent authorities" and to study the relationship between the City and the Beaches and Baldwin.
"It is time for an in-depth study that will then provide direction for action to improve our government, challenge the status quo and hopefully lead to better operations, structure and efficiencies," Gulliford said in the memorandum.
Council member Lori Boyer will lead the group.
"The experience level of the individual members is really quite amazing," Boyer said Wednesday.
She said the backgrounds of members include people who have served in past mayoral administrations, past Councils and even some who originally worked on consolidation more than 40 years ago.
More names will be added as alternates, but were not included on the list in time to make it to the Council.
"The information I have received from talking to people has really been outstanding," she said.
Boyer said one of her bigger challenges in leading the 30-person group will be balancing the conversation with so many voices who will want to provide input.
Boyer said the task force will meet weekly on Thursdays, with the exception of the first meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Council Chamber at City Hall. That meeting will include state Sunshine Law training, a review of public records law and a presentation about consolidation.
All meetings are open to the public and the group will operate under the state Sunshine Law.
Boyer said the public also will have ample opportunities to offer input through drop boxes in City buildings, the coj.net website and City hotline, 630-CITY. The multiple options will allow people who work for the City to anonymously offer their input.
"There's a real buzz about it," Boyer said regarding the input she has so far received.
With the Council Finance Committee still reviewing the 2013-14 City budget in the chamber, the group will be bumped several weeks and will meet in other public locations that can accommodate the task force and staff.
Gulliford and Boyer first met about the task force in late June, with Gulliford saying he hoped to hear "passionate debate and discord" to spur any changes for the better.
"We may end up deciding everything is fabulous, but it's an opportunity to look at the city after 40-plus years," she said. "Maybe there are things we should do differently."
Consolidation Task Force members
Lori Boyer, chair