SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | To ease a strain on city resources in San Leandro last fall, the City Council suspended its collection of standing committees, including two of which were related to the area’s school districts. This week, however, it reversed course and approved considerations for creating a city and school board relations committee.
Several councilmembers, including Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Pauline Cutter, who are former San Leandro school board members, spoke of maintaining a positive relationship with the school district. Cassidy credited the positive relationship of two former committees for San Lorenzo and San Leandro school districts that helped maintain communication between the city and trustees. “It is important to have a system in place for regular, as needed, conversations to help resolve issue and not have frictions develop,” said Cassidy.
The new committee is a resurrection of two former committee’s that were suspended with all other committees last year to help save money and lighten city’s staff workload. The new committee’s inception is within just six months of the council’s decision to suspend all committees. Every council member, save for Cutter who was absent, voted for the suspension last October.
On Monday, Reed and Souza sought and asked for alternatives to maintain a relationship with the school districts without resurrecting a committee that they had just decided was best to suspend temporarily. Reed’s alternative was to have a city council member attend board meetings, take notes and bring back a report to the city council and if something deemed worthy of discussion on the council then that could be arranged. Cassidy said that idea was not needed because it asks for more than what is necessary.
Furthermore, the council does have joint meetings with the school districts but they are very rare because of the amount of time and preparation necessary to execute them.“The joint meetings take a lot of effort to put together and we can’t have them for more than once a year,” said Cassidy, “Point is to be more nimble as issues come up.”
Councilmembers Ursula Reed and Diana Souza questioned the consideration heavily for its vagueness of purpose and how often it would meet. “How do we know that we won’t meet every week?” said Reed. Souza also added that she doesn’t see the difference between this committee’s purpose and the ones they had previously suspended.
Cassidy said meetings every week wouldn’t likely happen and the committee would only run for a trial period from the moment of its inception to the end of the year. “I’m not worried about that, we are all adults here and it will be just for this year,” assured Cassidy. As for vagueness, Cassidy said that it will happen, but added that “we can’t pin this down in a straight jacket.”
Vice Mayor Michael Gregory and Councilmember Jim Prola threw their support behind the consideration without argument. Despite Souza’s and Reed’s persistency on the reasoning and vagueness of the committee, they, along with the rest of the council, voted unanimously for the decision. Reed added though, “We did say we would not have any more committees for a year and we would do that for the city manager and his staff and we already contradicted what we said we were going to do and I want to make sure we are aware of that. We are going back on that,” said Reed.
I live in San Leandro and the relationship between the schools, the city and the chamber has never been better. It started improving in 2008 and everyone has been working to bring the test scores up. This had a lot to do with committee meetings.
So how will it get better if they don't meet?
Maybe the school and city committees can figure out how to pay the $180,000 a year fee to maintain the Burrell Field sports complex. How to pay to maintain the new swimming pool at the high school. This school district has not offered swimming as a PE class for years. They might also be able to figure out how to maintain the new preforming arts center. All this should have been thought out when they were selling it to the voters.
The city should have learned about better planning when they had to delay opening their new senior center. Some body isn't doing their homework. Great leaders.
I think it's a good idea to restart the school and city committees.
Now that Reed has been given the Pink slip from the HUSD and is attempting to be appointed to replace outgoing Sheila Jordan from the ALCOED , a highly compensated position that oversees education in the Juvie System and little else.
Must be nice to have friends in the right places and bailout so quickly on the city that just elected her for a second term…