Public Comment

Reducing the Cost of Commissions in Berkeley

By Councilmember Kriss Worthington
Tuesday June 21, 2011 - 03:35:00 PM

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

From: Councilmember Kriss Worthington

Subject: Referral to City Manager: Implement City Commissioners’ Cost Saving Ideas


Refer to the City Manager the following suggestions: Schedule multiple commissions to meet in the same place on the same day. Encourage distribution of agenda packets via email. Allow commissioners to draft minutes from audio recordings after the meetings,rather than requiring staff to make up minutes during the meeting. This makes minutes more comprehensive for one, and could reduce staff costs quite drastically. 


The proposed alternatives in this council item all aim to reduce staff costs and time, as well as streamline certain processes associated with administration of commissions.One possible alternative would be to schedule several commission meetings (that would otherwise be spread out among a number of days) to take place on one day. By using fewer meeting locations per day, upkeep costs will be lowered. By having the meetings on one day, it would mean only one receptionist would be needed as well—a staff person wouldn’t need to sit and direct the public at multiple locations. 

Another alternative that could be adopted would be communicating commission agenda packets via email to commissioners, rather than printing copies for each commissioner.By providing agenda packets electronically, both trees and mailing costs are saved. If they need paper copies, commissioners could print their own packets, but not at cost to the City. This would encourage commissioners to use their agenda packets electronically. 

A third option is to allow members of the City commissions to draft the minutes of their meetings after the meetings, from audio recordings of the meetings. This requires time and dedication, but a number of commissioners have shown willingness to be involved in this way. It eliminates the need for a staff person to spend an hour or two post -meeting writing up minutes, again reducing staff costs and time. 


Reduced staff costs. 


Councilmember Kriss Worthington 510-981-7170