SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2000, AT 12:00 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS-NOVI CIVIC CENTER-45175 W. TEN MILE ROAD
Mayor Clark called the meeting to order at 12:20 PM.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
ROLL CALL: Mayor Clark, Mayor ProTem Lorenzo, Council Members Bononi, Crawford, Csordas-absent/excused, DeRoche-absent/excused and Kramer
ALSO PRESENT: Tia Gronlund-Fox
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
CM-00-03-086 Moved by Crawford, seconded by Kramer; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To approve the agenda as presented.
Vote on CM-00-03-086 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche, Kramer, Lorenzo
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
PURPOSE OF SPECIAL MEETING - City Clerk interviews
Ms. Cornelius thanked Council for the opportunity to interview with them.
Member Bononi asked what her plan was to serve the public and if she had a customer service philosophy?
Ms. Cornelius said her plan to serve the public began within and flowed outward. She felt if the working environment is friendly, the employees are cross-trained and their needs are met they are able to pass that on to the citizen. It is important to make sure the citizen comes away with an answer and a feeling that their concerns have been heard.
Member Bononi asked Ms. Cornelius to describe the process she would use in order to address a Freedom of Information Request; not only the legality but from the standpoint of giving the person the assurance they would receive the information requested.
Ms. Cornelius said being the F.O.I.A. Coordinator for the City of Walled Lake she would determine if it was a request for the Police Department, Fire Department or should it stay within the confines of the Administrative Office. Then she would find out which department it pertained to and determine what it is they were requesting. She would assist that department in obtaining the information and occasionally the City attorney had to be consulted as well. Then they would follow policy determining the
fees and make them known in advance to the person who requested the F.O.I.A. and then follow up.
Member Bononi asked how she would look at the challenge of supervising a number of people and did she have any particular managerial philosophy on how she dealt with people who reported to her?
Ms. Cornelius said she currently supervises five people plus one part time person. Her philosophy has always been to keep the lines of communication open and to treat others much in the same way that she would expect to be treated. The most important thing is to keep in touch on a daily basis with all the employees to find out what is going on, what their work load is, how that project is coming, any problems and if necessary what can she do to help. She also felt it was very important to ask and say please and then to thank them for their hard work. She felt one of the most important things she could do for any employee she supervises is to let them know they are appreciated.
Member Kramer asked why she applied for the position of Novi City Clerk?
Ms. Cornelius said she applied because she saw Novi as one of the fastest growing communities in the State of Michigan and she wanted to be a part of the team that is going to make a positive impact in this community and to further her professional growth and development.
Member Kramer asked if there were any other reasons she wanted to change jobs?
Ms. Cornelius said she enjoys challenges and always has whether in the public or private sector. This is a whole different and larger City and she is looking forward to those new challenges that come with an increased community size.
Member Kramer asked what this position offered that her present one did not?
Ms. Cornelius thought this position offered new challenges with many more issues to face.
Member Kramer asked how she saw a functional relationship between her position as City Clerk, City Council and City Manager?
Ms. Cornelius said she would maintain it much the way she does now. It is very important to keep the lines of communication open. She would, as she does now, E-mail Council regarding what is going on in her office. If a resident came to the counter with a concern she would relay that to Council so they would be prepared in case they were to get a phone call later in the evening at their home. She works side by side with the City Manager and has for nine years and she felt it was her job to be sure that the City Manager, Council, Mayor and department heads are aware of what is going on. She would continue that fashion in Novi.
Member Kramer asked how she would manage and create a working relationship with the City Manager’s staff?
Ms. Cornelius said currently she and the City Manager meet each morning to discuss issues coming up during the day, if there has been contact with anyone during the
course of the previous day and to see if there is anything that the City Manager needed to be kept aware of. She would expect to maintain this relationship with the City Manager’s Office. The City Clerks’ office is sort of like another form of the Library. People come to that office for information and if she is kept up to date on all the things happening in the City then it is extremely important that the City Manager has all the information that the City Clerks’ office has. This also applies to the administrative staff.
Ms. Gronlund said everyone gets burned out in their jobs after awhile and asked how she energized herself and her staff?
Ms. Cornelius said it was important to keep a balance in your daily life whether working or at home and it was important to keep a sense of humor. If you take yourself too seriously it could contribute to a little bit of that burnout. She likes what she does and her work life fulfills a great deal of her goals. She wants to keep in touch with her staff and if they need motivation she believed it started with herself and it ebbed and flowed from there.
Ms. Gronlund asked for an example of a creative idea or plan she had that did or could have saved her City money?
Ms. Cornelius said because she has been able to wear so many hats at the City it has always been her concern to look at the City’s budget concerns as though it were her own checkbook. Each year she has watched the Blue Cross rates go higher and higher and has been looking for a way for a couple of years to reduce those rates. She attended a seminar about two years ago and one of the vendors called and asked her if she wanted to hear a proposal to reduce health rates. She told the City Manager and they are now a part of a team to reduce health care costs. They worked with a new agent and with union negotiations as well. They reduced costs $160 per person per month.
Ms. Gronlund asked what she knew about Novi?
Ms. Cornelius said she knew that Mayor Clark, Members Bononi and Csordas were the newest members of Council, Member Crawford has been here quite some time as Member Kramer has and Member DeRoche is new as well. She knew that Novi was facing some environmental issues and a road bond question that was on last years ballot. She went to the library and found that some of the challenges Novi is facing is new Council Members and new staff as well. New City Manager, City Clerk and now a new City Treasurer. When that many people come together all at once there will have to be a little give and a little take and hopefully everyone will be working together to provide a positive environment that would have a positive impact on the community.
Member Crawford asked what she would enjoy the most about being the City Clerk in Novi?
Ms. Cornelius said it would be working closely with the Mayor and Council. She said she had a strong desire to please people so it is really important to her that that goal is fulfilled. She thought it would start from there; making sure the lines of communication
are always open and to keep everyone informed of what is going on not only in the Clerk’s office but in City Hall. Then if you are in the grocery store and run into someone and they asked what is going on you have an answer or if you do not know you can get back to them. It is not always the speed in which you respond to someone but it is important that they feel like they have been heard.
Member Crawford asked what the most challenging aspect of her current position is?
Ms. Cornelius thought it was the effort to create a harmonious work environment. Sometimes it can be challenging because she could motivate herself to do different things but she also wanted other people to enjoy that same environment. Sometimes somebody might come in and they have a difficult family situation they have encountered, or a health problem and because of that it is important to keep in touch with everybody. She said it is her personal goal to make sure everybody is happy and pleased with what she has done for them. Therefore, she wants that to follow up with the employees as well. She enjoys seeing the look on their face when they accomplish their goals.
Member Crawford asked if there would be a problem with her daily commute?
Ms. Cornelius said she did not see why since it would only be two miles farther then where she goes now.
Member Crawford asked if she had any plans to move in this direction?
Ms. Cornelius said she just moved five years ago and she has three different routes planned in this direction.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked her for a brief history of her professional and educational background.
Ms. Cornelius said she has been the City Clerk in Walled Lake for a little over nine years and prior to that she worked for the City Manager for two years. Her primary tasks there are managing and organizing projects throughout the day, hiring employees, and developing and maintaining a working relationship. She maintains high standards for herself, she is hard working and organized and a loyal and dependable person. Prior to that she worked in the private sector in a dental practice as office manager and made sure the financial aspects of billing and insurance were taken care of. She liked to develop a relationship with each of the patients and that practice became successful. She said prior to that she was involved in sales with Tupperware and going back to the earliest days of her life she loved organization.
Ms. Cornelius said she has attended many professional seminars through the Michigan Municipal League. She has attended Michigan State programs specifically designed for municipal clerks. She is a member of the International Association and a member of local associations and is President of the Michigan Municipal Clerks Association. She
said about ten years ago the Clerks organization split into two organizations consisting of Township Clerks and then City/Village Clerks. This year she is part of a group of 20
board members who have reached a consensus that the Municipal Clerks profession in order to maintain the highest standards of professionalism in education could function better as a group of one. As a result, she is the facilitator of that merger and trying to get 20 board members to agree on the new procedures and by-laws, etc. has been quite the challenge. She has also attended Oakland Community College in the beginning of her career with the City of Walled Lake to attend Business Administration courses and since she has become City Clerk she has focused strictly on the City Clerks profession.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked what the most challenging aspect would be in her position here in Novi?
Ms. Cornelius that it would be a challenge to be sure that 50,000 residents are happy and not just 8,000.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said the City Clerks office deals with some very sensitive documents and materials. She asked what her practice would be to monitor and manage those to make sure documents were not leaving her office and if they did leave that they would be monitored and returned in a prompt fashion
Ms. Cornelius said she is involved in personnel files and workers injuries and confidentiality is of utmost importance. When it comes to confidentiality items such as personnel files they have to be maintained in separate, locked locations and only one or two people have access. Records pertaining to medical history must always be kept in a separate file as well and monitored. It is important for her to impart to others as well if they are going to be part of a situation where they might be involved in closed Executive Session that the need for confidentiality would be quite important. She would definitely be on top of those issues to make sure that she and the employees are all on the same page about what the expectations are about maintaining confidentiality of those issues.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked how familiar she was with Roberts Rules of Order?
Ms. Cornelius said she had attended a class on parliamentary procedures and is aware of what takes a certain majority, roll call votes on certain items etc. She has the indexed and tabbed version of Roberts Rules of Order because she wears so many hats now that it is one of those things where you know a little bit about each individual subject but always have access to where to look those things up.
Mayor Clark asked what special skills she possessed to deal with difficult people?
Ms. Cornelius said she is a very patient and fair person and believed that it was very important to depersonalize the situation. If they are raising their voice and are upset she knew she needed to listen to them and let them speak so their concerns are heard. She would put up that imaginary umbrella so that she knew it was not directed at her personally. Lastly, ask them what she can do to help them.
Mayor Clark asked for an example of a change that she had made in her present position that has improved efficiency?
Ms. Cornelius said she was able to streamline the record retention process. The previous City Clerk at Walled Lake had been there for 20 years and when she became the City Clerk they were still using word processors. They researched records by looking in a book and finding each individual page, etc. so she took the time to go through and make sure that each page that listed the records matched what was in the storage box. Then she went through all the records that were in City Hall and made sure they had a list of everything that was in the files and then created computer files for them. This was done for all departments. Now anyone can access a file and find it on the computer.
She also deals with cemetery records that go back to the 1800’s, which is fascinating history. She met with the cemetery maintenance company and they went through each record to be sure that their records matched the records that someone had passed on to them since the 1800’s and made sure that each person was where they were supposed to be. Then this was computerized and is much more efficient.
They also have something called the Clerk’s Index where they can go through 15 years of motions and find what they need by a few key words.
Ms. Cornelius asked how this Council felt about the idea of paperless packets? She said she had attended a seminar where a City Clerk had done this whereby all the information is scanned and sent by E-mail and each Council Member has a laptop computer where all the information would be reviewed. Computer training is involved throughout the process so if they need to make a note about something it can be done.
Member Crawford thought it was a good idea and it had been brought up before and should be something that is pursued and explored.
Member Kramer asked if notes could be made on the information?
Ms. Cornelius said yes. There is a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader where you can actually make notes in a margin or just highlight areas of questions.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said she is a paper person and does not own a computer and thought she might find it a little distracting.
Mayor Clark said he would keep an open mind.
Member Bononi thought what she was proposing was a mixed blessing. As long as we continue to have an agenda from Hell she did not know how helpful it would be because the paper barrage that comes along to support all of those items is too large to handle on a laptop. She thought it was a very interesting idea and would work with a lighter agenda. She thought it was absolutely worth pursuing.
Ms. Cornelius asked if there was anything the Council saw the Clerks’ office improving on for them?
Member Kramer thought the Clerks’ office has worked well with the Council and he would be looking mostly to continue that. It is always beneficial to have fresh input and new ideas and he thought she might bring in something that would have more of an impact then Council would direct her to have. The only thing he would ask for sensitivity on her part would be for notification to citizens in proper timing for elements that are on the agenda.
Member Crawford agreed and hoped that she would continue updating procedures and processes as Ms. Bartholomew did.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said one thing that would be helpful is when the agendas were prepared to make sure that the items on the agenda are exactly what Council thought they were to be.
Member Bononi said she would look at the public connection that the City Clerks’ office would have from the standpoint of having all who come to the Clerks’ office feel welcome to ask their questions. Sometimes for the citizen or person who is not attuned to government it can be a daunting prospect. They do not know the jargon or what to ask for and none of us likes to feel foolish when we are out of our purview. She would like to see the Clerks office continue to go the extra mile. She sees the Clerks’ office as being the hub of communication. Many people call the Clerks’ office first even before the City Managers’ office and from the standpoint of utilizing that ability to communicate with people it is very important.
Mayor Clark agreed with the other Members of Council and would look to any new clerk to certainly share their experiences and ideas. Especially ideas for positive change and they would look forward to that. He said Council would come to a decision on the appointment of a new City Clerk on April 3rd and then there would be one additional session with the successful candidate to come to an agreement in terms of an employment package. He thanked her for coming and sharing her knowledge.
Ms. Graver thanked Council for the interview. She said she is the City Clerk for the City of Hazel Park and prior to that she was the Deputy City Clerk for the City of St. Clair Shores. She has been in municipal business since 1978 and offers a lot of experience through the finance department, working with the City Manager and the Clerks’ office and she enjoys being a City Clerk.
Ms. Graver said when she was City Clerk in St. Clair Shores they went from a manual election system to Fund Balance and then to the Qualified Voter File. When she went to Hazel Park they were not ready to go to the Qualified Voter File and she was able to compare voters from Fund Balance to the Qualified Voter File. They are now up and running. She was impressed with the ad for Novi City Clerk because Novi was looking
for someone who is not afraid of technology and who would like to get more involved and she would like to do that. In St. Clair Shores they did document imaging with Matrix Imaging and it helped a lot when looking for something in the minutes. They are now looking at it for Hazel Park.
Ms. Gronlund asked for an example of a creative idea that saved her City money in her department or any of the other departments she worked with?
Ms. Graver said for saving money she believed it was important to know a lot of different facets of computer. In Micro Soft you have Access and Excel and she had gone to school for both of them and had been able to use Access to put together a data base for boards and commissions which allowed her to do labels and letters immediately for events. She also used Access to put together a dog license program although she did not actually do the actual programming.
Ms. Gronlund said a lot of people get burned out in their career and asked her how she energized her staff and herself?
Ms. Graver thought it was very important to keep staff abreast of what is going on. After a staff meeting she goes back to her staff and talks to them about what is happening to keep them a part of the action. She keeps an open door and if there is a problem they work it out and if they need help on a certain job they work together on it and it does work out very well.
Ms. Gronlund asked what she knew about the City of Novi?
Ms. Graver knew Novi was a very busy up and coming City. She is aware it is a very large City compared to Hazel Park.
Member Bononi asked, in addition to mandated responsibilities as City Clerk what would your plan be to serve the public and do you have a customer service philosophy?
Ms. Graver said the customer is why we are here and we have to help them and meet their needs with a smile. If they are happy then the whole community is happy. If people see that they do not want to go to the Clerks’ office because they are very grumpy or it seems like customers are always bothering them if they have a need it just will never happen. People want kindness, sympathy, empathy you name it they want it.
Member Bononi asked in her current post how many Freedom of Information Requests do you receive per year and do you have a particular way to handle those to assure customer satisfaction?
Ms. Graver said the biggest department who has Freedom of Information is the Building Department. She signs every Freedom of Information and forwards it to the Building Department. Their policy is to have their attorney look at some of them. There are some that just want normal information and she finds those right away but if there is an attorney requesting information that also goes to the attorney to make sure that we are in the right jurisdiction and doing the right thing. In a year they probably process a
good 200. There are also some from the Police Department but they are handled directly through them.
Member Bononi said there would be a significantly greater number of staff members she would be responsible to manage. How would you look upon that in regard to your past experience and how would you handle that challenge?
Ms. Graver said in St. Clair Shores she was responsible for 4 people. In Hazel Park she is responsible for two people. It is very important to keep people abreast of what is going on so they are not left out in the cold and she thanks them for the good job they do. Anything they can do to help her is wonderful and she makes sure she thanks them.
Member Bononi asked if she thought exponentially that would work; it would take a lot more time out of her day and asked how she would address that?
Ms. Graver said when people are helping you there is time to look at the things that need to be done, to plan as a Supervisor, to organize and to get fresh ideas and you need that time.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked for a brief history of her educational and professional background?
Ms. Graver said in the late 70’s she started a program and became a certified professional secretary. Later she went to Macomb Community College and received an Associates Degree and then after that she was a Deputy City Clerk. Then continued with all types of education and in 1993 she became a Certified Municipal Clerk and then in 1998 she was accepted into their advanced training. She attended the different classes that they provided because you represent such an important position you need that extra education just to keep abreast of new things.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked if she were hired for this position what would be the most challenging aspect of her City Clerk position in Novi?
Ms. Graver said it is interesting moving from St. Clair Shores to Hazel Park. The job is the same. Everybody does it a little different but the end result is the same. She said she was not here to change anything and did not believe that would be the right goal. She would like to blend in with everyone, make sure that what is happening is definitely the right way to do things. She found that one community does something and another does it different. Maybe it is right or maybe it is wrong and maybe there is a way to fine-tune that. Her goal would be to blend in and look and make sure everything is done the way it should be.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said within her department, obviously, there are a lot of sensitive documents and materials retained. How would you manage and monitor the viewing of those documents and anyone that would remove those documents for a period of time from her office?
Ms. Graver said she has a tickler file and when a document is removed she would stick in a sheet of paper where it was removed and on that would be who took it out and the date. It would stick up over the file so they would know what is gone and what’s not.
She said the bigger problem is when she does not get the documents that she is supposed to have and the bigger responsibility is making sure they are there.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked what she did to achieve that?
Ms. Graver said after a Council Meeting and for instance, contracts were signed or approved it could take a while to get everything signed and returned. She keeps a little note making sure that these are the documents that she needs and then once she gets them she can throw the note out.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo asked how familiar she was with Roberts Rules of Order?
Ms. Graver said in St. Clair Shores they adopted that. That is simply the way the meeting is handled, the way rules are established according to this particular document. A lot of communities are doing their minutes the way that is more comfortable to them. One would be your public discussion. A lot of people can go on and on and on and some Councils have established a five minute rule and some Councils have a couple of open times during the agenda where they can come up and speak again. In Hazel Park they have 30 minutes that is allotted out of the Council meeting. It is just a way of keeping the meetings organized.
Member Kramer asked why she was applying for the position of Novi City Clerk?
Ms. Graver said she was applying because she was interested in being able to use her abilities and challenge them to do the job as City Clerk. She loves the job and loves doing that type of work. The community is bigger and offers a lot more opportunity, a lot more development going on and it would be very exciting to be a part of that.
Member Kramer asked why she was looking to change jobs?
Ms. Graver said she could stay at Hazel Park until she decided to retire but this is an opportunity that has come up and looks interesting to her. If she did not try for this job then how would she know that she did not meet the type of criteria that she puts on herself and the challenge she puts on herself? She did not know if she would feel later that she should have applied and that is why she is here to check the community out.
Member Kramer asked what the position offered that her present one did not?
Ms. Graver said when in a bigger community even in a City Hall there are a lot more people involved and a lot more interaction and she thought the biggest problem in a lot of communities is the lack of communication. She would like to make sure if she got the job that communications are a very important factor both to Mayor and Council and to department heads as well as the workers that we all work together as a team.
Member Kramer asked what her approach would be in managing her department?
Ms. Graver said she had found that sometimes there could be a problem whether it is an employee or a job. Some of the problems work out by themselves, they just do. You talk about it, try to work through it and it does work out. Others you have to sit down, you do not want to recreate the wheel, but you do want to look at what is the problem and talk to the people. A lot of the people in your department already know the job and they know what they have to do. All you’re doing is managing and making sure that they are happy and if they are spending their eight hours here they are pleased with the work
results that they do. You do not want to crack the whip; that is not the way to do it. Just look at the people and treat them equally and treat them as you would want to be treated.
Member Kramer asked how she would establish a relationship with the City Manager and how she viewed the working relationship between her office and the City Manager’s office?
Ms. Graver asked if the City Managers’ office and the City Clerks’ office work together?
Member Kramer said the City Manager has his own administrative support while the City Clerk position is for the City Clerk, Council and the City.
Ms. Graver thought it was good to discuss with the Manager exactly what goals there are whether for the month or year. Find out what it is they are working towards and see if it is possible that they can accomplish this and be part of his team.
Member Crawford asked what the most challenging aspect was of her Clerk position?
Ms. Graver said the most challenging is you go through an election and it is a very tough procedure and no one really looks at it that way. From the very beginning when you are ordering supplies right down to election night and working with the election workers it is just such a tough job but it is very rewarding. After the election is over, you have the numbers and that’s it. It is a let down in a way. You have another part of statistics. You have the results but then you’re up here and then it drops. She said for her election workers she has been sending birthday cards out to the Chair people. She likes to keep them happy because they are special. She is also trying to get them raises and it is tough when you have communities around you that are paying a lot more than you do. At this time an election worker can go anywhere in Oakland County and if the next door neighbor is paying a lot more money they can just say adios.
Member Crawford asked if they have to be a resident and what did her office pay?
Ms. Graver said they have to be a resident of Oakland County. She said they pay $100 for a Chairperson and $85 for the inspectors. She said she hires high school kids to come in. The kids are wonderful. They are just so exciting to work with. At the November election she went to see all the precincts and this one young kid said "boy, some woman came in and she had oxygen and she was walking with a walker and she should not have been out it was cold and rainy. I can not believe that they are coming out to vote. You know I’m going home and if my Mom did not vote I’m going to be really mad at her." She said 18-30 year olds do not vote. They are busy with college, families, careers and they have a hard time getting out there to vote. She
was hoping that by starting the high school students out that by the time they graduate they will understand the process and hopefully make it a point to vote absentee. It is so important to her to get everybody out. In the Hazel Park community there is not a high voter turn out but she has been successful in increasing the permanent absentees. A lot of the people did not know they could be on a permanent list. You try to explain to them they will not automatically get a ballot that they would receive an application first
and they are very comfortable and very pleased with that service. That is a very important service for them.
Member Crawford asked what she thought she would enjoy most about a position in Novi?
Ms. Graver said she would enjoy learning a whole new philosophy. Everybody has a different goal for their community and learning and being part of another group of exciting new ideas.
Member Crawford asked what she thought about the commute from St. Clair Shores?
Ms. Graver said there would not be a commute. She said they would be moving to this area.
Mayor Clark asked what skills she had in dealing with difficult people who might come into the Clerks’ office?
Ms. Graver said it is just a matter of letting them say what they have to say and then learning the skill of coming back stating to them again what is it exactly they are saying. Sometimes they are upset because of the bad day that they had earlier but really do not know why they are upset right now. If you give them the opportunity to vent or if you can show them that you are sincere and will help them the best that you can and then she had to be sure that if someone has to follow up that they are doing it. A lot of times when people leave the counter they are not excited anymore they are just very pleased and they walk away more content then they were when they started.
Mayor Clark asked for an example of a change she made in the Clerks’ office at Hazel Park or St. Clair Shores?
Ms. Graver said she had been on an interviewing panel for many, many interviews in St. Clair Shores and Hazel Park. She has helped out getting a Deputy Clerk and said that is her favorite question. It is so important for people to really know that you are thinking and if there is a better way of doing something you are doing that. She said using computers has made a tremendous effect on getting information and streamlining the organization. She also likes to hear from other people in the department because then they feel like they are a part of the team and if they have a good idea it is not a problem for her to say this is a good idea lets use it. She would have to say using just Access alone has pulled a lot of information together that might have taken a lot longer. She said computers were her strong point.
Ms. Graver asked what goals and projects were important to Council?
Member Kramer asked if she was speaking of Council goals for the City at large or Councils goals in regards to their working relationship?
Ms. Graver said she was thinking of the total City and asked what are some of the important things they are working on to try to move forward.
Member Kramer said there were a lot of City projects and infrastructure things that are important to our citizens. He indicated the important things he thought were mutually needed to work on are communications, citizen involvement and participation in the City process in government and interacting more fluently and regularly with our citizens. He felt they should continue to address that and if Council did their jobs appropriately they would get the support that is required to move forward.
Member Crawford agreed with Member Kramer and thought there was a perception that Council did not want to get the word out to the public and that perception is changing with this new Council. There are other issues such as a new City Manager, City Clerk, City Treasurer and a new PR person and the goal to get those people on board and get their new ideas. The roads are always a major issue and it is a goal of this Council to address that.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo echoed the comments of previous members. She thought with the new City Manager coming on board that some of the goals would be to really focus on the internal organization and felt that had been lacking. She said they would be looking at employees with some sort of attitude surveys, compensation studies and a lot more to do with the internal communications between departments.
Member Bononi said some of the things she heard evidenced in Council as being common goals are a financially conservative attitude with regard to using wisely our resources, both the ones that we have and the ones that are planned for. Also, she has a personal interest in contingency planning.
Secondly, put an emphasis on capitol improvement planning so that we not only have a short range plan but a long range plan that in some instances would be able to preempt some of the important needs that we have as opposed to perennially going to the taxpayers.
The third thing she would like to see exercised and implemented is a fair share of attention in this community to the environment. She did not think they had the connection between the land use decision making process, both at the Planning Commission and Council level, and what effects those decisions have on our community environment. Particularly with regard to water quality since we are a head waters community.
Mayor Clark echoed the concerns that fellow Council Members expressed. He said traffic was also a big concern in Novi. Also infrastructure and major projects along both Haggerty and the M-5 corridor.
Ms. Graves asked if Novi had a Master Plan in effect.
Mayor Clark said yes.
Ms. Graves said no matter where you go the biggest concern is communication. When you think that you have it and you are right on sometimes it still fails you.
Ms. Graves asked what her role would be to Mayor and Council?
Member Kramer said we work very closely together in order to have successful meetings. They need thoughtfully prepared agendas and appropriate citizen notification when they need to be invited to participate in the items on the agenda for their benefit and their action. We have not had issue with the Clerks’ office on timely response on minutes. He thought her greatest challenge is following the discussion at the Council table.
Member Crawford said via the City Charter you are the Clerk for the City Council and hired by the City Council. However, that was adopted in 1965 and that position has evolved a lot more over the years. Now it is a major department and a major department head that has to work closer with the City Manager than any other department head. The Clerk also has to work in tandem with the City Manager and in some respects, although that is not an immediate supervisor, the Clerk has to be able to get along with that department and position as well as seven Council Members. It puts quite a demand on that person to have seven bosses as well as an exofficio eighth boss. This has become quite a position that was not envisioned in our City Charter.
Ms. Graves thought that would be the same for any community.
Mayor Pro Tem Lorenzo said preparing the agendas and trying to make sure that how the items are placed on the agenda would cover the discussion that the Council expected to have. It is important to fully understand what the intent was behind the particular agenda items and issues. She said her role as a City Clerk, would be a public relations and customer satisfaction role.
Member Bononi said she appreciated that the Clerks’ office was very accommodating when she needed something and they are also very good at tracking her down where ever she is when they need to tell her something. She would like to see that communications attitude continued and extended to the community who really rely on you to not only help them but sometimes be their translators. She said when she steps into someone else’s purview she is not familiar with she invites them to tell her what questions to ask.
She is also very interested and proud that we have increased emphasis on open meetings and openness in general. She would like to see a higher profile for that and whatever a City Clerk could do to see that postings are in more evident places, on cable and convincing the Novi News to post everything that we can give them to post. This would be particularly with regard to committee meetings so that citizens and other interested persons would be aware that these meetings are going on and they are invited to participate in any way.
Ms. Graves asked if a newsletter was sent out to everyone?
Member Bononi said that is the next thing. We do not have a newsletter, which she thought for a community of this size is a big disappointment; so that is a big opportunity.
Ms. Graves said they send out newsletters and she is always submitting information for those newsletters and in St. Clair Shores they had a calendar. She felt that made a big dent in communication.
Mayor Clark agreed with the comments and concerns expressed by the other Members of Council and certainly key in on the word communication. If people feel that they are a part of the process and can participate, everyone’s life runs a little more smoothly.
Mayor Clark said they expect that at the April 3rd meeting they will come to a decision in terms of a selection. Shortly after that whoever the successful candidate might be there would be one additional meeting to come to terms on an employment package.
Ms. Graves said she went on the Internet and was looking at Novi and went through the minutes and the agendas and looked at the web site as much as she could. Then decided she would wait for this interview to understand a little bit more about it. She said she knew she was not number two but was number three and was not even going to be given the interview and she is very pleased to be here and really did enjoy it. To her it was important just to see how other Councils look at their City Clerks and how they look at their communities. She was looking to see if this was the right fit for her and if she was the right fit for Council. She thanked Council.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION - None
CM-00-03-087 Moved by Lorenzo, seconded by Bononi; CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY: To adjourn the meeting at 2:20 PM.
Vote on CM-00-03-087 Yeas: Clark, Bononi, Crawford, Csordas, DeRoche,
Richard J. Clark, Mayor Nancy Ruetter, Deputy City Clerk
Transcribed by: _____________________
Charlene Mc Lean
Date Approved: April 3, 2000