The City Council this week decided to do away with set terms of office for members of city commissions. Under the new system, which will apply only to incoming commissioners, a member can be replaced at any time by vote of the council. The measure, which passed without discussion, was triggered by the case of former Planning Commission member Merritt Mead, who was pressured by city officials into resigning in November.
"If he had refused, I don't know what we would have done," said Councilman Chuck Bookhammer, who proposed the measure. He argued that the City Council, as the elected governing body, is held responsible for city policies and should be able to remove or appoint commissioners at will.
Mead said he resigned voluntarily because he felt uncomfortable as a proponent of moderate growth in a city government he said was heavily oriented to real estate development. City officials said they wanted him off because he abstained too much.