Off Beat: Public left out of process in Yuba City
It's good to see that nine courageous people want to be on the Yuba City City Council.
That shows a lot of interest in the future of their community. May the best person win on Oct. 16.
So the interview process should be a long one. That could make for a really long council meeting.
But maybe not.
In announcing Yuba City's starting nine, the city said the council won't hold public interviews. Individual council members can meet with the hopefuls on their own.
Does that seem a bit odd?
The City Council seat, vacated a few weeks ago, is an elected position. And it's common practice in California that when a governing body fills the vacancy of an elected position through appointment, it interviews the candidates in public, and, of course, votes in public.
Positions that are appointive, such as an unelected department head, a county administrator or a city manager, usually involve interviews in closed session. Doing it in public would be nice, but it's not required. It's considered a personnel matter.
So Yuba City finds itself with nine candidates. And each City Council member is supposed to find time to chat with nine people, one at a time. You don't want a group of council people meeting with a candidate or candidates in private. That might make for a knotty Brown Act situation.
The city has assured everyone that the vote will be in public. But what kind of discussion will there be? Will there be any?
The city posted on its website that the position was vacant and that it was accepting applications.
If you were interested, you had to submit a 500-word statement explaining why you want to be on the council, plus a one-page biography. That announcement was listed on the city's home page.
That's all well and good, but there seems to be a problem: The website doesn't list who has applied for the position. This newspaper provided its readers with the list.
And the website doesn't post those 500-word statements and biographies.
Nothing on the homepage. Nothing in the City Council section. Nothing in the city clerk section. Maybe they're just hidden well.
The biographies and statements of interest might be enlightening to the public since they probably won't get much of a chance to see the hopefuls in action during that Oct. 16 council meeting.
It would take too much time to interview them in public. And nobody wants to waste time in Yuba City.