Royal Oak trimming number of committees

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published September 18, 2013

ROYAL OAK — The city is looking to trim the number of its advisory committees after the Rules Committee found in June that several of them were redundant or hadn’t actually made recommendations to the City Commission in years.

The City Commission approved a resolution July 15 authorizing City Attorney David Gillam to begin drafting ordinance amendments eliminating six committees, consolidating three and fixing the language in one.

Gillam brought before the commission Sept. 9 the first two committee changes: repeal of the WROK Committee and an amendment to the Animal Shelter Committee ordinance.

The commission approved both with a 5-0 vote. Commissioner Jim Rasor and Commissioner Mike Fournier were absent.

The Animal Shelter Committee ordinance previously gave it the power to set policy — something that goes against the City Charter.

“This amendment would clarify that the committee is supposed to act in an advisory capacity to the City Commission,” Gillam said.

Setting policy for the shelter, he said, belongs to the commission.

As for eliminating the city’s public-access committee (WROK), he said he couldn’t recall the last time it actually made a recommendation to the commission.

“I think the position of the commission has been that the city’s municipal cable access channel is working properly and functioning well and that the formal existence of a committee isn’t necessary at this point in time,” Gillam said.

Rob Moore, a former member of the WROK Committee agreed with Gillam and said it should be disbanded.

“I’ve been a member for a couple of years, and it rarely meets more than once or twice a year, and I don’t think we’ve met at all this year,” Moore said at the July 15 meeting.

Throughout the next few meetings, the commission will vote on eliminating the Charter Vehicle Task Force, the Performance Management Guideline Committee, the Royal Oak Cool City Advisory Group, the Hotel-Motel Committee and the Liquor Control Committee.

It will also vote on consolidating the Historic District Study Committee, Historic District Commission and Historical Commission into one historical committee.

Commissioner Jim Rasor and Mayor Pro Tem David Poulton, who are both on the Rules Committee, said elimination of the Liquor Control Committee will streamline the approval process for businesses.

“This allows a faster conduit for businesses to approach us to invest in this community,” Rasor said at the July 15 meeting. “It’s going to be one hearing instead of two and this whole board is going to see it.”

As for the Hotel-Motel Committee, Poulton said if the city has to respond to an incident, it can do so at a much faster pace with the committee gone.

“When something comes up with a hotel (or) motel, I want to take swift action,” he said.

As for the others, City Manager Don Johnson said they were never intended to be permanent.

“Some of these are inactive because they’ve completed their tasks anyway, but they are all still on the books as active city groups,” Johnson said.