Council, public to interview attorney candidates in Dunsmuir

Skye Kinkade
Dunsmuir City Councilor Scott Welch sits next to a screen from which councilor Ed Steele participated in Thursday’s meeting via Skype from Colorado.

The public will have the opportunity to participate in an interview for two prospective city attorneys, tentatively scheduled for July 31.

Councilors unanimously approved a request during their meeting Thursday to extend interim services with one of the prospects, John Kenny, who was the city’s attorney until his resignation in April.

Councilor Scott Welch made the motion to allow Kenny to provide legal services until Aug. 31, or until a permanent attorney is hired. That motion was approved by Mayor Dave Keisler and councilors Dick Kelby and Ed Steele, who participated via Skype from Colorado. Councilor Tim Padula wasn’t present at the meeting.

Kenny and Redding attorney Margaret Long are the two applicants for the position, said City Manager Brenda Bains.

Three attorneys responded to the city’s Request for Proposals, but one later rescinded their application, Bains said.

Long attended an informal coffee at City Hall to meet councilors and constituents on July 1. Kenny, who wasn’t aware it was a time to meet the public as well as the council, who he was already familiar with, didn’t attend, said Bains.

The council voted 4-0 to adjourn Thursday’s meeting and reconvene on July 31 for the interviews.

From the audience, Bruce Deutsch asked that there be a set process for the interviews, with predetermined questions and a ranking system. Bains said there is an effort underway to craft questions, and a ranking system will be considered.

Michael Bush asked if the public will be able to ask the attorneys questions of their own. Bains said they would be welcome to participate.

Aug. 7 meeting cancelled

The council unanimously approved the cancellation of their next meeting, which had been scheduled for Aug. 7.

Bains said city staff is behind on day-to-day operations and there are people leaving on vacations.

Keisler asked if there is anything imperative on the upcoming agenda, and Bains said, “not that things have calmed down. We’ll be fine deferring the Aug. 7 meeting” until the next scheduled regular meeting on Aug. 21.

Keisler explained that Bains has been busy processing a large Public Records Act that consists of 1,464 pages. He commended her and the city staff for their diligence.

Consent agenda (mostly) approved

The council approved the consent agenda by a vote of 4-0, with the exception of one check to David Hicks in the amount of $9,451.70 for city attorney services.

The consent agenda also contained the approval of the South Dunsmuir Sewer and Dunsmuir City Fire special tax assessments, which will now be submitted to the tax collector, as well as the approval of a Freshwater Collaborative Mussel Study.

Bains explained that Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir are pairing up for a study to hopefully demonstrate that there are no freshwater mussels in the Upper Sacramento River.

If they can prove there are none, the cities will not be subject to tightening regulations on ammonia in wastewater discharge from the Environmental Protection Agency, Bains explained.

The cities will both pitch in $7,000 to complete the study.

“All we’re trying to do is prove them wrong,” Keisler said.

Council and staff comments

Keisler reported that flags had been stolen from Dunsmuir’s cemetery. He said the city should discuss purchasing new flags at their next meeting and suggested extra patrols for the area.

Kelby, who is working as part of a committee to draft new protocols for the council with Deutsch, Alan Harvey, Bryce Craig, and Josh Spurlock, said he is hoping that a preliminary or final draft will be ready for discussion at the end of August.

Bains reported that she led a joint meeting with the Historic District Commission and the city’s Public Facilities and Services Committee.

Those attending the meeting agreed that the Historic District looks good right now, Bains said, and the biggest concern at present is vacant buildings.

Sgt. Chris Rees said the next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be on Thursday, Aug. 14 at the City Council Chambers at 6 p.m.

Dunsmuir has been divided into four sections: north, south, the Historic District, and the Butterfly Avenue District, Rees reported, encouraging anyone interested to attend the Aug. 14 meeting to help keep Dunsmuir safer.

Public comment

From the audience, Michael Bush asked the council to not lose sight of the water main replacement project with all that’s been happening in Dunsmuir in recent months.

Bains said the water infrastructure improvements will be completed with a $2 million CDBG grant, but they have been waiting for the state to take action to approve an engineer.

There is no schedule yet, but Bains said she hopes to have one by next month. She assured Bush that because the project will be completed with grant money, “we won’t let that get away, we can’t.”

Mark Juarez announced that the California Theatre is open for business, and old movies are being screened there on Fridays and Saturdays. There is a $2 donation requested, but no one is turned away for inability to pay, he said.