Imagine if you could win a seat on the Santa Rosa City Council without enduring an election.
No fundraising. No campaigning. No walking precincts. No groveling for endorsements from special interest groups.
Just fill out an application, answer a few questions, and if four of the six council members like what they hear, you get to join them in directing public policy for the next two years.
That possibility is proving attractive to 17 people who hope to be appointed to serve the remaining two years of the second term of Susan Gorin, who won election to the Board of Supervisors in November.
The eight-way race for Santa Rosa City Council took a surprise turn Monday when two candidates most political observers expected to be rivals endorsed each other and called for a return to political collaboration in the city.
The details remain murky, but local government officials in Sonoma County said Tuesday it appears Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension deal will have an impact on local workers. The City of Santa Rosa expects to get clarification today from its attorneys specializing in pension issues, but the plan appear to affect not just state workers but future municipal workers, said Human Resources Director Fran Elm.
Santa Rosa’s police and firefighters deserve to have contract disputes settled by a third party, as long as the city can truly afford it. That was the determination Thursday of the panel exploring changes to the city’s by laws, which since 1996 have required public safety contract disputes to be settled by a panel of three arbitrators. The 21-member Charter Review Committee felt tweaking the arbitration process would be better than scrapping it altogether.
Santa Rosa has struck sweeping pension agreements with its police and fire unions that are expected to save the city millions in coming years. The tentative agreements, which head to the City Council on March 20, establish lower pension benefits for new workers, increase the amount employees must pay toward their pensions and institute anti-spiking provisions.