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Charter Review Committee Survey Out Now

Santa Clara has released a citywide survey to help the 2023 Charter Review Committee make an informed decision about whether or not to change the city charter in regard to how the City selects its police chief and city clerk.

The survey is just ten questions long. It includes questions on city of residence and whether the responder wants to share answers with the public.

The positions of police chief and city clerk are taken as separate entities within the survey.

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For each position, the survey asks if the City should consider changing the position from elected to appointed in the city charter.

It also asks, if the city charter is changed to an appointed position, who should be the “appropriate appointing authority.” The options include “City Council,” “City Manager,” “Undecided,” or “Neither, keep elected.”

Respondents are given a small space to offer any additional feedback or an explanation as to why they responded in one way or another.

As of the morning of Friday, Sept. 8, the City had received 132 responses, though only 34 were considered “registered responses.” Registered responses possibly means the responder was willing to share their identity with the City, though no clarification was given on the City’s website.

The survey will be open until October. City staff will then compile the responses and present them to the Charter Review Committee at its Oct. 17 meeting. At that meeting, the committee will make a final decision on whether to recommend a change in the city charter.

The Charter Review Committee has met twice on the matter so far. In its most recent meeting, the committee spoke with the current police chief and city clerk to talk about their roles within the City government and ask questions about those roles.

The committee’s next meeting is Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at Central Park Library. During that time, the committee will hear from some appointed city clerks about their roles within city government.

You can find all of the Charter Review Committee background information, details from previous meetings and a link to the community survey on the City of Santa Clara website. From the City’s homepage, select “Our City” then “Government” and then “City Committees.” On the City Committees page, you will find a link to the 2023 Charter Review Committee.

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3 Comments
  1. CSC 8 months ago
    Reply

    I can’t provide a screen shot here but the survey is poorly written.
    .
    For Chief of Police the first question asks, “Should the City consider a change to the position of Police Chief from elected to appointed in the City Charter?”
    Options are: Yes, No, Undecided.
    .
    Second provides direction and asks, “If you responded YES to amend the City Charter to change the position of Chief of Police from elected to appointed, should the appropriate appointing authority be:”
    Options are: City Council, City Manager, Undecided, Neither keep elected.
    .
    This OpenGov survey lacks appropriate controls. At the time of this comment, 10 respondents selected YES for change of Police Chief Charter and 11 respondents have selented Yes for change of City Clerk Charter. The directions for each follow on question clearly state, “If you responded YES…” however there are 34 and 36 follow on responses meaning respondents who didn’t answer YES to question #1 clearly provided additional votes.
    .
    Futhermore, if a YES to question #1 respondent is unfamiliar with how law enforcement management works or has bias against a Council Member or the City Manager, the “Neither keep elected” in the second question cancels out the first question.
    .
    Questions about changing the City Clerk charter were written in the same confusing manner.

  2. David 8 months ago
    Reply

    It is a shame that there is a poor turnout for city voting. This makes electing these positions by residents challenging. However the biggest problem is who we have elected to city council. Most of those elected are not qualified to be council members and thus cannot give them the responsibility of electing those positions. Residents need to get involved and get a better city council in the future and only then can we discuss having council members appoint these positions.
    David F.

    • Buchser 2 8 months ago
      Reply

      It is so much better now ever since our City converted over to our current Six District Election System. Our City Council now much better represents us in each individual District and our City’s diversity. Personally, I feel our council members are well qualified in making responsible choices for our present and for our future.

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