Communication mishap postpones appointments
Mayor David Pittman’s appointments of councilors to the city’s commissions, committees and boards were postponed for a second time during Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting.
Pittman, as mayor, is responsible for appointing councilors to the city’s committees and boards, and the council as a whole votes to approve the appointments.
As the council considered appointments Tuesday, Councilor Scott Thomson, who attended the meeting through video, requested to postpone the appointment confirmations to a special meeting later in the month.
An error in communication between Thomson and Pittman outside of regular meetings appeared to turn into a battle of finger pointing in the City Council Chambers.
Thomson said he requested a meeting with Pittman in November 2022 to discuss appointments, but said he never heard back from him.
Pittman, in response to Thomson’s claim, said in January he put out a posting reaching out to councilors for them to provide feedback to him and the city administrator. He said he’s been having ongoing discussions and has been adjusting the appointments.
“I’ve had many emails and text messages from the rest of the council on top of this,” Pittman said. “To paint the picture that I haven’t done my work, I’ll tell you I’ve done my homework.”
The City Council first considered the appointments during a regular meeting
Jan. 17, but that too was postponed with the same reasoning given by Thomson.
Councilor Krysi Riggs said she was able to voice her preference to be part of the Oroville Downtown Business Association.
Councilors Eric Smith and Shawn Webber supported postponing the appointments in support of extra discussion time for Thomson to explain where he’s coming from.
Webber said he agrees with Thomson’s experiences in communication with the mayor and said that the appointments as presented looked “very unfair and inequitable.”
Thomson said he would be willing to accept the mayor’s current appointments for Butte County Association of Governments and Air Quality Control Board because they were most pressing.
A motion to approve the two appointments and to postpone the rest of the appointments to a regular council meeting Feb. 21 failed 4-2 with yes votes from Pittman and Riggs, with Councilor Janet Goodson abstaining.
A motion to approve the two appointments and to postpone the rest of the appointments to a special council meeting passed 6-1 with a no vote from Pittman.
The City Council approved a three-year contract with Brian Ring for the role of city administrator.
“Mr. Ring has been working in the Butte County area for many years … he has a plethora of experience and a wealth of knnowwlede that he’ll bring to the city,” Police Chief Bill LaGrone said.
Cal Fire-Butte County Unit Chief Garrett Sjolund said he has worked with Ring in emergency management for disasters in Butte County and noted his involvement in the community.
“He’s developed great relationships with people, has brought folks together, that otherwise wouldn’t talk with each other, into a room to a common goal and get to scenarios we need to address,” Sjolund said. “If there is any prerequisite for this position or any department head position, it really is the volunteer for the president of the Little League.”
Ring’s salary is set at $204,365 annually and he will begin his first day as city administrator Feb. 27.
The City Council also approved its lease and sublease agreement with Oroville Rescue Mission for its operation of the Mission Esperanza
project, a state funded shelter program slated to house 30 people in Pallet shelters and provide room for car parking and tent camping.
As a requirement of the $2.7 million grant that will fund Mission Esperanza, the city is required to be in control of the property where the project is planned. The city approved an agreement to lease the property from Oroville Rescue Mission and sub-lease it back.
The City Council approved items in its consent calendar including:
• Ordinance updates to comply with the 2023 California Building Standards Code.
• A public utility easement for Olive Ranch Apartments.
• A development agreement to update the general plan’s circulation element.