Tuesday Morning Recap 5/20/14: Food Trucks & Fire Dept. Middle Management
Was there a really a good reason to expand exempt Mayoral appointments in the Fire Department from 2 to 14? I never thought so and that’s why I voted against this change last year. Too many middle-managers for our fire service when we have other needs, and too many opportunities for bypassing our Civil Service system and creating nepotism. A lawsuit was filed against the Mayor’s changes and a judge overturned the new middle-management additions. Last night on a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Fagan voting against, those changes were overturned and the exempt positions were reduced to what they had been before. Since the Judge’s ruling however the Mayor appointed a new middle-management position to the fire service. The legal wrangling over this change is likely not over yet.
The Council decided to defer our other big topic last night which was changes to food truck statutes. Our current municipal code never anticipated mobile food truck becoming a staple of downtown dining and competing with bricks and mortar restaurants. Food trucks are great and deserve not to be forced to operate in a gray area of City law. To that end, the City embarked on a multi-year process to come up with rules that would be fair to both food trucks and existing restaurants. Last night food truck vendors came out against the new regulations and the Council voted 5-2 to defer the new rules for a month to look at making possible changes to them. Councilmembers Mumm and I voted against deferral. I think we are way overdue in dealing with this issue and I would have preferred to vote on the sections of the ordinance we could agree on and then take time to work on the rest. Food trucks have operated in legal limbo for too long and deserve to be recognized in our code and regulated in a way that creates a level playing field with bricks and mortar restuarants.
Only other action last night was a title change in our code to now call the Council Finance Committee the “Finance and Technology” Committee.