Folsom City Council Working for the Betterment of the Community
Mayor Andy Morin, photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
Give yourself a hand if you: a) live in Folsom, b) raise your family in Folsom, c) patronize Folsom businesses, or d) all of the above. Thank you and nice job! You play an important role in making Folsom a great community.
Now meet the Folsom City Council, a legislative group that provides leadership to the community by adopting laws and ordinances (as allowed by federal and state law) and makes decisions in matters of public health, safety and quality of life. Folsom has a “weak mayor” form of government, which means that the City Council—as a group—establishes all policy direction, as opposed to having one official who overrides the entire legislative process.
Folsom’s City Council is made up of five elected officials: Mayor Andy Morin, Vice Mayor Steve Miklos and three Council Members—Kerri Howell, Ernie Sheldon and Jeff Starsky. The weak mayor structure dictates that when policy decisions are made by the City Council they are implemented by the city manager (CEO).
“It is important to understand the two universes that make up the city’s structure,” says Mayor Morin. “First there are the day-to-day operations, such as utilities and transit, that don’t require constant governmental oversight. Second, there are ‘special circumstances’ that develop and need to be addressed; in those cases, the City Council takes action and provides guidance.”
The City Council meets twice monthly. Meeting agendas cover discussions and resolutions, such as how to implement home building impact fees to developers, which help to fund city parks; along with city ordinances, which can include issues such as barring massage establishments from residential-zoned neighborhoods and prohibiting smoking in public places. These policies are voted upon via roll call of the members.
The public is invited to speak at City Council meetings, too. These agenda items are considered “business from the floor” and are an opportunity to address the community at large. Mayor Morin emphasizes that it is the public’s chance to speak to the community and not just the City Council. “The meetings are broadcast on cable TV, so if someone wants to get a message out, he or she can use this platform,” he says. “We feel that people are satisfied with this part of our process, as it shows that we pay attention to community matters.”
Recently, a group of residents brought a complaint to the City Council about aggressive panhandling in Folsom. “This is a case where the people felt empowered to come to the City Council to voice their concerns,” explains Mayor Morin. “They had experienced negative and personal encounters with panhandlers here in Folsom and felt strongly that action needed to be taken.” Several citizens, along with members of the Folsom Police Department and city officials, are working together to resolve the issue.
The members of the Folsom City Council take their civic responsibilities very seriously, as affirmed by Mayor Morin: “Being leaders for policy direction and maintaining health and safety for everyone in the community is what we work every day to achieve.”
-by Janet Scherr
For more information, visit www.folsom.ca.us/about/city_council/default.asp.