Sonoma City Council appoints 5 clean slates to key commissions

The City of Sonoma completed its revised process of naming members and alternates to several city commissions last week, taking final action at its Feb. 5 City Council meeting.

Final appointments were made to the Community Services & Environment Commission (CSEC), the Design Review and Historic Preservation Commission, the Cultural and Fine Arts Commission and the Traffic Safety Committee.

The seven-member, one alternate Planning Commission had earlier been approved, with members taking their seats in November.

It was turmoil in the Planning Commission selection process that led to a new system for appointing commission members. In years past, the mayor would nominate commissioners from a pool of applicants, with the rest of the council confirming the appointment, or not. But several disagreements over mayoral nominations in recent years led the council to revise the appointment model, taking it out of the mayor's hands.

The new method was adopted in September, providing each council member the opportunity to name their own choice for each commission from the pool of applicants. But questions were raised at that time which led the council to clarify the appointment process, and the terms of appointments, questions that were discussed at the Jan. 29 meeting and resolved the following week.

One particular question that begged clarification was: What happens to a commissioner, appointed to a four-year term by Councilmember A, if that councilmember loses his or her seat on the City Council, either by resignation or defeat in the next election?

It was decided that a four-year appointment is a four-year appointment, and commissioners serve out their full term regardless of their sponsoring councilmember's political fate.

Commission appointees must also be qualified electors, either in the City of Sonoma or in Sonoma County, if the commission allows for a non-resident member.

A seven-member commission would have two “at large” members (not appointed by a specific councilmember) but these “at large” members would serve for a two-year term, instead of a full four-year term. And while it has been traditional that at least one at-large member be a non-City resident, that is now optional – all seven members could be city residents, with no necessary representation from outside city limits.

Finally an “ex-officio,” or non-voting youth position for the CSEC was approved, for a city resident between 14 and 18 years of age. That seat has yet to be filled; City Clerk Rebekah Barr said the recruitment process would begin soon.

The city's application process for the commissions was open for a full month, closing on Jan. 3.

As with the Planning Commission, the first step was to dissolve the previous commissions to start with a clean slate, then appoint new members under the new policy – one choice per council member. In the cases of a seven-member commission, the council as a whole votes on nominations to select the “at-large” members.

The composition of the city's commissions and committees is as follows:

Planning Commission (7 members, 1 alternate)

Kelso Barnett

James Bohar

James Cribb

Robert Felder

Carol Jansen

Robert McDonald

Robert Wellander

Lynda Corrado, alternate

Community Services & Environment Commission (7 members plus alternate)

Matt Metzler

Ken Brown

Fred Allebach

David Morell

Sandi Funke

Kimberly Blattner

Jack Wagner

Jeff Van Houten, alternate

Cultural & Fine Arts Commission (7 members plus alternate)

Kate Schertz

Linda Ransom

Deb Emerson

Mari Edlin

Lauren Kershner

George Thompson

Veronica Napoles

Alternate – vacant

Design Review & Historic Preservation Commission (5 members plus alternate)

Terry Birt

Charles Cormany

Micaelia Randolph

Christopher Rateaver

Leslie Tippell

Christopher Johnson, alternate

Traffic Safety Committee (5 members plus alternate)

Yvonne Bowers

Nancy Parmelee

Hunter Sauls

Christopher Woodcock

Armando Zimmerman

Paul Thomas, alternate

Appointments were also made to the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee (SVCAC), a joint venture with the County of Sonoma. The three City representatives are Jack Ding and Ditty Vella – both currently members– and Pat Pulvirenti as an alternate. Amy Harrington is an ex-officio member of the SVCAC, and Gary Edwards is the ex officio alternate.

There is also a City of Sonoma Tree Committee, of three members. These will be chosen from the Community Services and Environment Commission; both Ken Brown and Christopher Rateaver served on the previous Tree Committee, but while Brown is again on the CSEC, Rateaver is now on the Design Review Commission.

Finally there's an Audit Committee, composed of two councilmembers, Amy Harrington and David Cook. They already met on Jan. 18 to begin fulfilling their role to “review the City of Sonoma's Fiscal Year 2015/16 comprehensive annual financial report and auditor's communications with JJACPA, Inc., the City's financial auditing firm.”

A complete list of the city's commissioners, committee members and alternates can be found on the website

Email Christian at

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