The city of Hermiston will be looking for volunteers to occupy two new city committees planned, while some current committee members will soon be out of a job.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor David Drotzmann suggested dissolving the Business Advisory Committee, the Urban Renewal Planning Advisory Committee, the Senior Center Development Committee and the city’s liaison post to the Port of Umatilla. In their place, he recommended creating a committee to update the city’s charter and a committee to improve the aesthetics of Hermiston. All of the mayor’s recommendations were passed by the council.

Drotzmann said while the defunct committees served their purpose during their existence, the need for them had waned, and new concerns demanded new direction.

“It’s not that we don’t appreciate these committees for their service in the past,” Drotzmann said. “At this point, they are not highly effective committees. I don’t believe we should just make things up for them to do to keep them busy. Some of those could be put back together, ad hoc, if the council needs advice on some issue.”

Councilman John Kirwan, who served on the Business Advisory Committee, backed up Drotzmann’s assessment.

“We have lately been having meetings with nothing to cover,” Kirwan said. “If people are going to step forward and serve on a committee they want to have goals to accomplish.”

Drotzmann said he suggested the formation of a City Charter committee because the charter has not been updated in nearly 60 years.

“The charter is the governance rule by which the city operates,” Drotzmann said. “They were last updated over 50 years ago. It was the desire of the council to review the charter and update some of the policies that are listed in there. Some of them are antiquated and outdated, so we need to update that.”

The other committee suggested by the mayor would handle issues regarding the beautification of Hermiston. Drotzmann said he wanted to form a group to look at how to make the city easier on the eyes.

“I’ve labeled it the Community Enhancement Committee,” Drotzmann said. “It would look at beautification, curb appeal and other ways of sprucing up the city of Hermiston. Both of these committees have a potentially huge impact on the city moving forward.”

Councilman George Anderson said, having examined the city’s charter, there is a need to revise and possibly amend the document.

“Several of us have looked at the charter and asked ourselves ‘does it really say that?’ It’s antiquated and just flat out needs to be reworked,” Anderson said.

City Manager Ed Brookshier will be developing recommendations on the implementation of the new committees for the council in the near future. Brookshier said during Monday’s meeting, while setting the number of members would be a primary concern for the new beautification committee, creating a charter review committee would be slightly more complex.

“For the charter review committee, I want to do some advance work on that and present it to the council,” Brookshier said.

Any amendments to the city’s charter require review by the council and a public vote. Drotzmann acknowledged the challenge of changing the document but said he thought it should remain a priority for the city in 2014.

“It’s a big undertaking, but we feel like if these are the rules we govern by, then they should be up to date,” Drotzmann said.

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