City Council Revives Public Safety Commission

Commissioner applications to be available in October.

Written by MATTHEW WONG / Published August 6, 2011 

Thirteen years after the last Public Safety commission meeting was held, the City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to bring the advisory and hearing body back to life.

Beginning in October, applications for five commissioner positions will be available to those interested. The City Council will then consider the applicants and make appointments by the end of the year.

The Public Safety commission will be a “sounding board” for traffic, parking, and public safety issues, City Manager Jose Pulido said during the September 21, 2010 city council meeting.

Public Safety Officer Bryan Ariizumi added that the commission would also serve as an appellate body for parking citations and permits.

According to Ariizumi, the Public Safety commission was first created in July 1994, but was disbanded by October 1997. Ariizumi commented that a former Public Safety commissioner previously said the group was placed on permanent hold due to liability issues.

“I think it is a good idea,” Mayor Pro Tempore Tom Chavez said. “It gets more citizens involved.”

Councilwoman Cynthia Sternquist concurred, “I think it’s a great opportunity to alleviate Mary [the City Clerk] from the excess amount of work it takes to be the judge, the jury. I think this way it is five people making a decision. If a ticket was upheld, people would be more receptive.”

Currently, City Clerk Mary Flandrick is the sole hearing officer for those appealing parking citation complaints.

In June, the City Council voted to tentatively reinstate the Public Safety commission, as well as redefine its duties to include parking and administrative citation programs. Last month, the City Council asked a yet-to-be formed commission to consider assisting City Hall with emergency preparedness.

Reviving the Public Safety commission will cost $1700 a year, staff estimated. The commission will be composed of volunteers, but the expected costs would be needed to pay for overtime staff.

However, having a volunteer commission would cost Temple City less than if the City hired an attorney or retired judge to be the hearing officer, City Attorney Eric Vail said.

Mayor Pro Tempore Chavez stated that the future commission would not simply be a body to hear parking cases.

“We’re not creating a commission just to hear parking tickets,” he said.

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