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Council Should Reverse Course on Merging Advisory Commissions

The Davis City Council Should Reverse Course on Merging Advisory Commissions

The Subcommittee on Commissions (Vaitla, Chapman) process for introducing the merging commissions concept was not accomplished in good faith.

The proposal was first made available to the public late on the Friday before last Tuesdays City Council meeting and was quickly put to a council vote Tuesday night. Even other council members were kept in the dark about the specific proposal until Friday. This was a devious, unfair and terrible process.

There was no material input from commissioners. Some commission chairs and vice-chairs were consulted about what was and wasn’t working in their respective commissions. But some commissioners said they were never asked about the radical plan to merge their commissions, and some commission chairs and vice-chairs testified that they were not consulted at all by Council members Chapman and Vaitla.


The Subcommittee on Commissions has refused to appoint applicants to fill commission vacancies for the last six months, causing commission quorum problems. The Finance and Budget Commission has not met for months and is now down to two members and effectively out of business. After months of waiting to be appointed, applicants move on to other things rather than sit around and wait. The claim that commissions must be merged because there are not enough applicants is a sham.


Merging commissions with two disparate areas of expertise would make them less able to accomplish either missionIf the mergers happen, the workload will double, and there will either be less time for discussion of issues or the meetings will have to run very long.  A commissioner is not likely to have expertise in both missions. For example, the Utility Commission has almost nothing in common with the Finance and Budget Commission, and the Human Relations Commission has nothing in common with the Civics Art Commission.

We, the undersigned commissioners, request that the City Council:

  1. Immediately reverse their preliminary action of approving moving forward with the concept of merging commissions;
  2. Then (a) send the City Council staff report on merging commissions to each affected commission (b) to provide full and proper feedback on the merger plan to the City Council, so (c) it could consider the merger plan in a future council discussion.

(Note: Anyway wishing to add their name to this petition can log on to change.org and search for the petition title, Reverse City Council Decision to Move Forward With Merging Commissions.)

Jim Cramer – Member, Tree Commission Member                     

Elaine Roberts Musser – Member, Utilities Commission     

Gerry Braun – Member, Utilities Commission                        

John Reuter – Member, Tree Commission                          

Alana Gamage – Member, Tree Commission                    

NJ Mvondo – Member, Human Relations Commission                          

Sheila Allen - Former Chair, Human Relations Commission                           

Colin Walsh - Vice Chair, Tree Commission                         

Margot Loschke - Former Chair, Senior Citizens Commission                   

Alan Pryor - Former Member, Natural Resources Commission                   

Eileen Samitz - Former Member, Planning Commission                    

Roberta Millstein - Former Chair, Open Space & Habitat Commission              

Larry Guenther – Former Member, Tree Commission                    

Connor Gorman – Member, Human Relations Commission

37 Davis residents and activists                  



Colin Walsh

One thing that is clear here is the signers of this petition are people who often have very different points of view on Davis issues, but together the signers represent decades of involvement and participation. It is very notable that this diverse group is in agreement.

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