Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Feeney/Perry To Lead Sr. Commission, Karlen Quits

Well, the sparsely-attended Costa Mesa Senior Commission meeting this morning at the Costa Mesa Senior Center was full of interesting surprises.  Let's lead off with the two biggies.

First, Ernie Feeney was nominated to retain her post as Chair of the Commission and Ann Perry was nominated to become Vice Chair.  Both were approved by the commission unanimously.
The biggest news, however, came near the end of the meeting when Recreation Manager Travis Karlen announced that he had resigned and would be leaving the City of Costa Mesa on March 17th.  He's moving on to greener pastures with the City of Irvine and will be heavily involved in their Recreation organization in the evolution of the Great Park project.  This is one of those career opportunities that just cannot be passed up. 
Karlen has been with the City of Costa Mesa since July of 2014, when he replaced the departed Bob Knapp as Recreation Manager.  I've had a chance to get to know him just a little and to watch him in action.  It seems to me he has been a very effective manager in the Recreation organization and will certainly be missed.
He introduced Justin Martin, who has been with the city just over a year, as the Interim Recreation Manager.  It is presumed that The City will do a normal search for the Karlen vacancy.  I've also watched Martin in action over the past several months and Karlen is leaving his organization in good hands - even if it might be temporary.  I presume Martin will be in the running for the job on a permanent basis.
Back to the agenda.... Senior Center Program Administrator Yvette Aguilar presented the staff report on the Bus Reservation issue.  She provided a brief history of the issue and covered the statistics included in the staff report.  In a nutshell, since the satisfaction level appears to be quite high - 97% - and the one complaint that made up that 3% was from one incident with one individual, the commission agreed to leave the program as-is for now.  Staff recommended a review in a year.  Stella Adkins indicated she preferred a six-month review.  Karlen indicated that they were monitoring the program closely and would immediately respond to any kind of problems so a shorter review period probably wasn't necessary.  Chair Feeney asked for a summary statistical report in six-months and agreed to a full review again in a year.  The commissioners agreed on a 7-0 vote.
The second item was the proposal for a new class - a 6-week Sign Language class.  Most of the commissioners seemed to be just fine with it - until Public Comments.  At that time Mariann Ross Chappell, the applicant for the Sign Language class, stepped to the podium and complained that she had actually applied to teach two classes - the Sign Language class and an E-Bay class.  She said she was told by a staffer that they were going to give their current computer class contractor a chance for that class first, and she thought it was discrimination.  She asked for the Sign Language class to be set aside until both applications could be heard.  As you might expect, this generated a significant discussion among the staff and commissioners.   The upshot of this process was that the Sign Language class was approved and the staff would revisit the process on the other issue and come back to the commission at their next meeting.
Chair Feeney then conducted her discussion on Goals and Objectives.  She hearkened back to the days of City Manager Allan Roeder, who would gather council members following each election cycle in an open meeting and ask each to define their most pressing issue.  According to Feeney, this process produced a roster of issues that the council would then prioritize to provide a road map for their actions downstream.  She wanted to consider a similar process for the Senior Commission.
The commissioners addressed this issue and it was generally agreed that it's a good idea.  They resolved to try to dedicate one meeting to this process.  There were discussions of a totally separate special meeting, but scheduling issues might to be a stumbling block, both from a staff and commissioner standpoint.  The staff will evaluate this issue and will likely schedule such an event in the near future, maybe as soon as May.  Commissioner John McGlinn offered to take a leadership role in this process.  Assistant CEO Tammy LeTourneau suggested this was more properly guided by staff members, but would welcome McGlinn's expertise and support.
At the beginning of her report to the commission, Aguilar introduced Costa Mesa Police Captain Mark Manley, who spoke to the commission and audience about volunteer fingerprinting.  He advised that each volunteer and/or city employee must under go a LiveScan process - the gathering electronically of fingerprint information - which is then submitted to the United States Department of Justice.  Apparently, in some cases with elderly folks, the definition on fingerprints is insufficient to get an accurate reading.  Manley said the DOJ is supposed to advise the individual of that failure so they can re-submit.  If it happens twice, then the DOJ will do a "manual" background check on the person.  The issue of transportation to Police Headquarters for the test, and the scheduling of the tests, was discussed.  Possible solutions are to call for an appointment and schedule transportation.  It is NOT possible to bring the apparatus to the Senior Center.  There was also a discussion of scheduling a block of time for many individuals if the need is there, then transport them to and from the CMPD for the testing.  Feeney suggested this kind of approach be considered and advertised in The Chronicle.

 Aguilar continued on with her report.  Here's a thumbnail version of that report:
  • A new skylight was installed and sun room flooring was replaced in January.
  • The Grand Hall will be closed 3/28-4/1 to replace the flooring.
  • Membership renewal forms were distributed.  So far, 620 renewal forms have been received back.  There are currently 1,764 seniors on the mailing list, of which 1,311 are Costa Mesa residents.
  • The Albert Dixon Foundation contributed $17,500 for Senior Center Programs, of which $15,000 was earmarked for electronic/technology devises and $2,500 to pay the current MELT instructor.  Four (4) Ipads and four (4) tablets have been purchased and a Tech Talk Clinic will be held on March 18 from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • Additionally, the Albert Dixon Foundation donated another $50,000 to Senior Serv, which provides nutrition services to the Senior Center.
  • She gave a brief summary of past recent events and of upcoming events, all of which are covered in The Chronicle.
  • She asked for members interested in participating in the Costa Mesa Community Run to sign up.
  • She provided a summary of upcoming Presentations/Seminars, each of which is covered in The Chronicle.
  • An Emergency Action Plan/Fire Drill will be held on April 29th.
  • The Senior Advisory Committee (SAC) will meet on the first Monday of each month at 12:30 p.m.
  • The staff is currently working to expand the Volunteer Program.  There were 437.0 volunteer hours in January and 314.75 in February.
  • There were 750.75 Programmed hours in January and 745.25 in February.  There were 5,180 visitors to the Center in January and 5,159 in February.

During Commissioner Comments the following comments/observations were made:
  • Kirk Bauermeister congratulated the staff on excellent reports.
  • Stella Adkins asked if a pull-out calendar could be included in The Chronicle.  Aguilar advised that there is a calendar available at the front desk and Karlen advised that it's a budget issue, but they would consider it.
  • Janet Krochman suggested that the calendar be made available electronically for those with computer skills.
  • Ann Perry observed that many school sites have solar panels in parking lots and wondered if that's something that could be considered for the Senior Center Parking lot.  Karlen said he'd forward the suggestion to Public Services.
  • Sue Healey, addressing the Bus Report, expressed concern about the reliability of service from a private company and suggested we consider using City Employees.  She said she was looking forward to the Goals and Objectives meeting.  She thanked Karlen for his service and wished him well.  She thanked the SAC committee, all of whom were among those 8 members of the public present at this meeting.
  • John McGlinn thanked Karlen.  He observed to Aguilar that "you're getting better and better every day".  He, too, is looking forward to the Goals and Objectives meeting.
  • Chair Feeney observed how beautiful The Chronicle is getting, and said, "it sure hasn't peaked yet."  She asked for copies of the minutes of the SAC meetings for the commissioners.  She thanked Karlen and welcomed Martin, then adjourned to the next meeting in May.

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Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Karlen's going to Irvine and be involved in the Great Park? That's a whole 'nother circus!

3/09/2016 02:55:00 PM  

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