Somewhat newly minted Council Woman Kristin Gaspar (November 2010 first place vote getter) has been a real worker on the Encinitas City Council. In addition to her other obligations she agreed to serve on a Sub-Committee with Council Woman Barth along with some other folks (Barth came in 2nd behind Gaspar in 2010 even though she was the incumbent…) dealing with our ongoing General Plan 2035 update. The meetings were tough but productive until the last meeting when it appears Barth had unilaterally imposed her opinion on staff between meetings, altering the direction the committee was headed. This Hi-Jacking of the sub-committee process was not well received by Gaspar, and at Wednesday’s City Council meeting Gaspar read this into the record as a report to the Council which authorized the Sub-Committee and gave them their charge:
“As you know, on September 14th there was council consensus to create a general plan update stakeholder subcommittee and to appoint myself and council member Barth to serve. The purpose of the subcommittee was to work with the planning dept to finalize and refine the general plan update timeline and to define the composition of a stakeholders working group to review the draft general plan update. Monday marked the final subcommittee meeting intended to wrap up our collaborative effort prior to returning to council with the subcommittee’s recommendation on how to proceed.
“It is with great disappointment that I feel a duty to report to the full Council and the public that the open, transparent functioning of our subcommittee was severely compromised by the actions of council member Barth. At the beginning of the final meeting this Monday, I was shocked to receive a document presented by staff that did not reflect Council or subcommittee agreed upon direction. Instead, the document outlined an entirely new concept with 4 pages of supporting documentation which had not been discussed at the prior three meetings and of which I had no prior knowledge or involvement. When I questioned where the new concept came from, council member Barth stated that it came from a “debriefing” meeting she had with a staff member after our prior subcommittee meeting concluded. This unilateral action was a blatant attempt to subvert and circumvent the Subcommittee process, pushing a sole member’s agenda demonstrating complete disregard for the collaborative, group dynamic required of subcommittee work.
“It is essential that subcommittee members approach their work with a sense of duty and integrity, and a desire to do what is best for our citizens in an open, transparent, and collaborative manner. Backroom dealings, separate agendas and behind the scenes maneuvering undermines public trust, increases cynicism in our political process, puts staff in an awkward position, wastes taxpayer dollars and damages working relationships between council members.
“Despite this inappropriate, discouraging action by council member Barth, I am pleased to report the subcommittee was after two (2) months and four (4) long meetings able to arrive at a consensus and produce a plan consistent with the subcommittee’s original mandate. This plan will be presented to the public and the full Council in a matter of weeks.”
This issue has been covered a bit by the Union Trib, although in a very one sided and not well done manner, as well as the NCTimes but I thought the SDRostrafarian’s would enjoy getting the whole truth. Additionally, what makes this entertaining is that Barth has held herself out as the champion of open and transparent government, even though in this instance it appears she prefers the old fashioned “back-room” deals. I believe what we have here is a case of “feets of Clay”. Look it up…