Thu04242014

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Council reduces hiatus period for termed-out members

The Los Altos City Council last week shortened the length of time termed-out councilmembers must wait before being eligible for appointment to a city commission. The change resulted from a review of the council’s norms and procedures at a special Jan. 7 meeting.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter proposed the change, which would make former councilmembers eligible for appointment to city commissions, ad hoc and other council-appointed bodies after a two-year hiatus from public service. The new waiting period is consistent with the time termed-out councilmembers must wait before being eligible to run for a seat on the council again.

The revamped rule, scheduled for a final vote at the Jan. 28 meeting – would reduce the existing four-year waiting period. The council approved the four-year moratorium last February by a narrow 3-2 vote.

Carpenter conceded that while she initially agreed to the four-year period, she accepted the change because she believes that the city benefits from the experience and skills former councilmembers can provide various city bodies.

“I did drive that change, and, to me, it’s still a compromise,” said Carpenter, a two-term councilmember in her final year of elected service. “The people who serve on the council are community-minded individuals who have contributed significantly to the community.”

Carpenter called the adjustment to a two-year waiting period a “move in the right direction” and noted that her motivation to seek the change isn’t “really about any one person.”

– Diego Abeloos

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