Monday, November 9, 2009

Informal Session - November 9, 2009 - Storm Water Fee / Weaver Report

Informal Session - Nov. 9, 2009 - Storm Water Fee / Boards & Commissions / Weaver Report from Silver Persinger.

Includes Deputy CAO of Operations Christopher Beschler discussing the storm water fee and how it is derived. Docket Review for the evening's meeting. Council discussion of Boards, Commissions and Authorities, which to abolish and how to manage. Chris Hilbert [3rd District] recommended that applicants be asked if they do business with the city; to avoid potential conflicts of interests and to promote transparency.

Discussion by City Clerk Lou B. Ali on developing orientation for new Board and Commission appointees and holding a recognition ceremony for volunteers in April 2010.

Council Chief of Staff Daisy Weaver gave a report. Discussed the CIP [Capital Improvement Program] Budget. Bruce Tyler [1st District] asked about the cost of the City Jail. Ms. Weaver reported the administration was late in delivering three reports to the Council. Reva Trammell [8th District] mentioned briefly a deal she was working on for the Model Tobacco building, possibly a bond financed through RRHA.

Ms. Weaver announced her desire to hire Ralph Harris, who currently serves as one of Council's Fiscal Analysts, as her Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. Trammell offered some protest to the proposed "promotion."

There have been other recent changes to Council's staff recently. Felicia Craighead, until recently served as a Deputy City Clerk. Three employees under the supervision of Ms. Weaver have recently left their positions. Angela Montgomery, formerly a Policy Analyst left her position in August, and recently Valerie Salaam [Policy Analyst] and Anthony Dale [Budget Analyst] have left what had formerly been described as the "Department of Legislative Services." The handling of this department by Council's Chief of Staff Ms. Weaver, has been an object of constant criticism by this blogger.

The Department is supposed to have a Director and it did briefly in the person of Ellen Bowyer, the only individual fired by former Mayor Douglas Wilder and Acting CAO Harry Black for not re-applying for her job with the Council. Since that time, Ms. Weaver has assumed the duties of the Director and also continues in her role as Council's Chief of Staff.

In my opinion, Ms. Weaver is an ineffective manager who lacks leadership in her direction of legislative policy. She merely exhibits a semblance of formality and process. Ms. Weaver worked for twenty years in the City's Budget Office, but I don't think that is an adequate qualification for directing legislative policies.

I think the lack of an effective Director of Legislative Services is the greatest contributor to the lack of success and effectiveness of the Richmond City Council.

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