Cline said he supports the process but would prefer to see the city wait until 2020, when new people are on the council, to move forward with it. "I have yet to be convinced of the urgency ... to have a charter put in at the time."
Mueller said he was tired of talking about council procedural matters and noted that the city would still be subject to the California Voting Rights Act as a charter city.
One of the main reasons the council is considering making the switch to a charter is that the change would enable the city to explore alternative voting methods, such as cumulative or ranked-choice voting.
By acclamation, the council appointed council members Cline and Catherine Carlton to an ad hoc committee to iron out the details of what other pieces could be included as part of a conversion to a charter city, including whether or not to include term limits and to establish a broader city committee to develop further charter policies after 2018.
Mayor Peter Ohtaki recommended that some former council members be appointed to offer their input through this process.
Another advantage of becoming a charter city that the council has discussed is that it could offer the city greater freedoms to be more selective with its contracting procedures. Carlton said the step might "provide us better services for less money."
Under state law, the city has to accept the lowest bid on projects, but that can mean trouble if the contractor is not adequately qualified or has a history of poor work, explained City Attorney Bill McClure in a previous report. Becoming a charter city would give the city more power to pick contractors, so long as it continues to pay prevailing wage.
"I trust you guys (pointing to the council) and you guys (pointing to the council meeting audience) much more than I trust the state," said former council member Mickie Winkler. "This is an extraordinary opportunity. Let's put it to the voters this year."
The ad hoc committee was also tasked with considering adding term limits to the charter measure.
Assistant City Attorney Cara Silver said it might be possible to pass a charter that sets term limits but makes them subject to change by the City Council.
"I think really that it's a policy issue about whether to include (term limits) or not," she said. Recently, council members Cline and Mueller made a request that the council consider term limits of three four-year terms.
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