One of my major complaints about Redondo Beach city politics is that city staff has way too much influence on everything from the strategic plan to the award of contracts.
Opponents of this opinion would say that’s the way city government was designed. Our elected officials are volunteers who generally have full-time jobs. In some cases, they have young families that require quite a bit of their attention. Council members rely upon professional staff to take the time to delve deeper into issues than they are able to do themselves. The city pays the staff to provide guidance on some issues, especially the ones they don’t have time to thoroughly research.
I’m sure this is very helpful in some, maybe most instances. Anyone who’s read a city council agenda has seen each item has some indication of what the staff recommends. Some recommendations are written on the agenda. Other items have a staff report attached within which the staff recommendation is clearly displayed.
Staff reports usually weigh the pros and cons of an issue in a way that appears unbiased and fair. Recommendations are usually explained briefly after the major issues have been weighed and discussed.
We can’t know how much each council member relies upon staff recommendations. I suspect they would deny any claim that the staff exerts undue influence on their decisions. I beg to differ.