76 Signers Push Back against Proposed Commission Changes

Elaine Roberts Musser during her public comments – screenshot, city feed

On Tuesday at the city council meeting, Elaine Roberts Musser presented the council with a petition of 76 signatures pushing back against proposed changes to the city commission system.

By Elaine Roberts Musser

My name is Elaine Roberts Musser. On February 6, the City Council took preliminary action to approve moving forward with the concept of merging commissions. However, the subcommittee on Commissions of (Bapu) Vaitla and (Josh) Chapman engaged in a seriously flawed process. The proposal was first made available to the public late on Friday before Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and quickly put to a council vote that night.

There was no material input from commissioners or city staff.

The Subcommittee on Commissions has refused to appoint applicants to fill commission vacancies.

In consequence, the Finance and Budget Commission is being destroyed, and there is currently no citizen oversight of the city budget. There are already rumblings against any city tax measure because of it.

There are many technical problems with the proposal. As a result of the flawed process, this would not have happened had city staff and commissioners been consulted beforehand.

For instance, the Historic Resources Management Commission must be a separate commission to obtain CLG grant funding and to streamline the CEQA process for development projects.

If the Utilities Commission is not a separate commission, there’s a real possibility the city will be exposed to civil liability for not abiding by the terms of the settlement agreement in the water rate lawsuit.

If the Tree Commission is merged with the National Resources Commission, a number of city ordinances will have to be rewritten.

A merger between the Human Relations Commission and the Civics Arts Commission was already determined to be a bad fit, which is equally true of the other mergers.

In view of the flawed process and potential technical problems, the city council should reverse course, rescinding approval, and make the merger proposal an agenda item at the next meeting of each affected commission, present and present, and respond to concerns raised in these meetings in the full City council.

A petition to that effect has now been signed by 76 Davis residents and activists, including 18 current or former commissioners, all of whom represent a broad cross-sections of community leaders.

Please help with objecting to the merging or elimination of our needed Davis citizen commissions being proposed by the City Council, by signing the petition on change.org entitled: “Reverse City Council Decision to Move Forward With Merging Commissions”  at the following link:


If you have any questions, email Elaine Roberts Musser at: erobertsmusser@gmail.com.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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