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Teleconferencing approved for council members
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After two years, the Turlock City Council on Tuesday elected to reenact a procedure allowing council members to teleconference in to council meetings.

The measure succeeded by a 4-1 vote, with Vice Mayor Amy Bublak opposed. She argued against allowing teleconferencing, stating the practice reduces interaction.

“You don’t actually participate as well,” Bublak said. “You’re kind of behind, so you don’t interject when you should.”

The practice was effectively barred except in case of emergency at an April 28, 2009 meeting of the Turlock City Council, by a 3-1 vote. Bublak and then-council members Ted Howze and Kurt Spycher supported the ban, while Mayor John Lazar was opposed.

Councilwoman Mary Jackson was not present at that 2009 meeting, as she had recently given birth to twins. She had requested the council discuss teleconferencing at their April 14, 2009 meeting, in hopes of teleconferencing to council meetings during the first few weeks after birth.

Revisiting the issue was requested by Councilman Bill DeHart.

In order to teleconference, council members will still be required to phone in from a venue open to the public and Americans with Disabilities Act accessible, so as to comply with Brown Act open meeting laws. Also, notice of the meeting must be posted at the location 72 hours in advance, should members of the public wish to attend.


On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:

Received an update on a 9/11 memorial celebration, which will be held on Sept. 11 at Turlock’s Fire Station No.1.
The event, which will be keynoted by John McParland of the Oakland Fire Department, will begin at 8:46 a.m. to coincide with the timing of the first plane striking the World Trade Center. Further details of the program remain in development.Began the process to update the city’s Water Code, in part increasing the delinquency charge for late water payments from $10 to $25.
The code changes, which require a final vote at the Aug. 23 council meeting, will also discourage water theft, make installation of water connections more business-friendly, allow “flow through” fire sprinkler systems at residences, and require Turlock purchase well sites large enough to accommodate wellhead treatment systems.Recommended hiring an instrumentation technician in the Utilities Division, filling a vacancy resulting from the 2009 hiring freeze. The position, which Turlock will attempt to recruit for internally before engaging in open recruitment, will pay $56,304 salary, with $37,608 in benefits.
Per the staff report, the additional employee is needed to meet the demands of maintaining water and sewer related infrastructure. Issued a proclamation in honor of the Ansel Adams Exhibit, which will serve as the first exhibition at the reconstructed Carnegie Arts Center.Received a presentation from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District on the Healthy Air Living Outreach Campaign.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.