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Sat, Aug. 17

Prescott Council considers process for replacing Hanna

PRESCOTT - Replacement of outgoing City Councilman John Hanna will be the topic of discussion at a special meeting of the Prescott City Council this week.

The special meeting will take place at the end of the council's regular meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

City Manager Craig McConnell explained that the council set the special meeting, because Hanna's resignation becomes effective at the end of the regular meeting.

After Hanna's departure, the council will reconvene for consideration of how to replace him.

The council packet includes two procedural options. One involves soliciting applications for the position, followed by an executive-session discussion by the council, and a public appointment. The other option is similar, but also includes private executive-session interviews with the finalists.

Neither of the options involves public interviews with the candidates, which was one of the requirements of the policy that the council repealed two weeks ago.

McConnell said private interviews are typical when the city hires an employee or fills a vacancy.

While acknowledging that the election of council members regularly involves public scrutiny of the candidates, McConnell said, "This is an appointment, not an election."

He added: "It is awkward to interview candidates for council appointments in a public session."

Even so, McConnell pointed out that the two options outlined in the council packet are merely suggestions.

"The council could decide on some other approach or option," McConnell said.

Because the agenda item is listed simply as "action (regarding) filling of City Council vacancy," McConnell said the council also could opt to make an appointment outright at the meeting.

The memo on the matter notes, "It is especially important to expedite filling of the vacancy due to the (fiscal-year 2012/2013) budget process under way, which continues to necessitate considerable council attention."

The two options outline a schedule for filling the vacancy by April 24. McConnell said it is likely that workshops on the upcoming budget would occur in April.

In early March, Hanna announced his intention to resign from the City Council to run for the District 1 seat on the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors.

In other action, the council will:

• Consider a contract for services with the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance (PMBA) for a mountain bike pump track in the southwest corner of Granite Creek Park.

The issue initially went to the council in October 2011, but was postponed to allow PMBA to become incorporated as a nonprofit organization. McConnell said PMBA now has its nonprofit status and can sign an agreement with the city.

The agreement obligates the organization to donate labor and materials for the pump track, which is a course that allows mountain bikers to develop their skills.

• Consider a license agreement with Charles and Margaret Horsley for a recreation trail northwest of Watson Lake.

The agreement, which the council postponed in December 2011, would allow construction of a new section of trail that would complete a six-mile loop around Watson Lake.

Earlier, council members worried that the agreement would expose the city to liability from the rock-climbing activities that occur in the area.

They asked the city parks and recreation department to develop a risk management assessment for the area. That assessment, which is included in the council packet, outlines the city's management practices and special signage for the area.

• Consider applying for a $200,000 Hazardous Fuels Grant application to the Arizona Division of Forestry to do "fuels treatment" on 136.5 acres of city and privately owned land within city limits.

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