The Hermiston City Council approved five out of six proposed changes to the Hispanic Advisory Committee at its regular meeting Monday, including expanding the number of committee members from seven to nine.

Councilman George Anderson, who is the council representative to the board, felt the time was ripe for an expanded committee.

“Now there’s a substantial interest in this committee,” Anderson said. “By expanding this, you’re going to get more people who can come in and contribute.”

A few council members, however, expressed reservations about the boost in membership, including Councilwoman Jackie Myers, who wanted to know why there should be more members, and Councilman Doug Primmer.

“My only concern is too many cooks spoiling the soup,” he said, asking what the advantage would be to increasing the number.

Anderson argued nine was hardly an excessive number, considering the Hermiston City Council has nine members, including the mayor.

Following a motion by Anderson and a second by Councilman John Kirwan, the motion to increase the number of committee members passed, with only Primmer and Lori Davis voting no.

“I think that’s an awesome opportunity,” Mayor Dave Drotzmann said about the increased membership.

With the membership request passed, the council then considered the other recommendations and approved four of them, including rewording the committee’s mission statement, setting meeting times for 7 p.m. the third Monday of each month at City Hall, establishing a new schedule for electing chair members and requiring that council members renew their positions on the board after a three-year term.

The only request the council rejected was the recommendation to require committee members to be fluent in Spanish.

“I don’t want to exclude people who could be a valuable asset to any committee because of that,” Kirwan said.

He said, after speaking with Councilman Manuel Gutierrez, who is also a Hispanic Advisory Committee member, prior to Monday, he learned many children of Spanish-speaking residents grow up only fluent in?English.

Kirwan said those children shouldn’t be barred from participating on the Hispanic Advisory Committee once they become adults.

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