EP seats council, selects new member

{gallery}/01_18_11/council{/gallery}The January 11 Eagle Point City Council meeting could not begin officially until newly elected members were sworn in because only two of the seven member council remained.

First to be sworn in was Bob Russell, the new mayor. This was followed by the official oath of office given in unison by City Recorder Dena Roberts to Jonathan Bilden, Ruth Jenks and Kathy Sell.  All were seated and the meeting officially got under way with presentation of plaques to the four retiring members.

The retiring members represented 33 years or more of service to the city. Leon Sherman began on the city council in 1999 after retiring as police chief. He just completed his second term as mayor. Terry Christian began with the planning commission in 2001 and just retired from the council. Wyn Lewis started her years of service with the Parks & Recreation Commission in 2005. Rick Tree became a member of the planning commission in 2003 and later became a councilor upon the death of councilor Garey Walruff.

The newly elected council got a quick education on the meaning of Oregon’s Public Meetings Laws as discussion on filling the one vacant seat got underway. The three candidates: William Fierke, William Lawson and Leon Sherman each addressed the council and then council members individually discussed them before voting. The public meeting law prohibits secret ballots or closed door decisions. A motion was made to seat Fierke. It passed 4-2 with Alan Curriston and Mike Parker voting no.

Curriston was approved as council president. The president fills in when the mayor is unavailable.  City attorney Joe Kellerman was appointed parliamentarian and Police Chief Vern Thompson will be the sargent at arms.

The mayor appointed council members to be a liaison member as follows

Ruth Jenks- Transportation, RVACT, MPO, TAC; Rogue Valley Sewer- Mike Parker, SOREDI- Jonathan Bilden, Eagle Point Parks & Recreation- Kathy Sell, Economic Development-Alan Curriston, Rogue Valley Council of Governments and Medford Water Commission- Bob Russell.

City staff for several months has been researching options to improve the city’s website and recommended a firm named CivicPlus for the design, implementation and support of a new website. The current site was designed by the League of Oregon Cities and cannot be maintained locally. To update it through LOC would require training in Salem and even with that the site would not offer the function available through CivicPlus.

Jenks expressed concern that the specifications were inadequate and that potentially there could be more costs from CivicPlus than currently indicated. She voted against the motion while all others supported it.

Approval was given to the revised transportation plan, which is part of the comprehensive plan. The plan was developed with the assistance of DKS Associates Transportation Planning Consultants. The planning commission, city council, a citizens advisory committee and public hearings have all been involved in the lengthy, thorough process. City Administrator Dave Hussell said it was a 20 year plan that probably will be reviewed in seven or eight years depending on the city’s growth. Fierke abstained since he had not received information previously. The new councilors had been given the plan to study prior to the meeting.

Police Chief Vern Thompson acknowledged the advancement made by Officer Dennis Hoschler which included 760 hours of training, 38 points, minimum of 38 college credits, and an intermediate certificate from Standards and Practices and five years on the Eagle Point Police force. As a result of meeting these requirements he was promoted to the status of Senior Officer.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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