Tiobe Barron, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Discussion of a long-standing Ojai Planning Commission tradition of holding “pre-meetings” revealed tensions between the Ojai City Council, the Commission and community members Tuesday night.
In a practice predating anyone currently serving the city in an appointed or elected capacity, Ojai’s Community Development director typically meets with three of the seven Planning Commissioners for breakfast or lunch, in order to answer questions regarding agenda materials before the next commission meeting. Ojai City Manager Rob Clark stated in his staff report these lunches and breakfasts cost the city $1,328 for the last fiscal year. Commissioners receive no other form of compensation from the city. By comparison, insurance, worker’s compensation, salaries and retirement for current and former City Council members costs the city approximately $100,000 annually.