At last week’s council meeting, Community Development Director Rebecca Willis recommended that the city take on an advisory role as a community liaison rather than remaining on the board as a voting member. Willis dedicates about 30 hours per month to DSC duties as the city’s representative, and since the DCS, a nonprofit group, has yet to make significant steps toward building a facility to support its vision for Delta education, Willis believes now is the right time to step away.
“With the city’s limited staff resources, this may be an appropriate time to adjust the city’s participation to be supportive of the DSC, but not necessarily as a voting board member,” said Willis. “This may allow for more efficient use of staff resources and the ability to expand partnerships with a number of agencies and organizations that provide recreational and educational programs related to the Delta. The city can still be supportive of the DSC’s mission, but it may be the time to step away as a board member.”
The board recently reorganized and named Mike Painter as president. While the board is in a restructuring phase, despite its renewed enthusiasm, the council voted 5-0 that this would be the ideal time for Oakley to take on fewer responsibilities for the governing of the organization.
The East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD), also one of the original DSC community partners, resigned from the board earlier this year. EBRPD is working on its own science facility, the Delta Discovery Experience, along the Big Break shoreline. Vice Mayor Jim Frazier suggested that since the DSC and EBRPD share a vision for Delta awareness and education, it might be a good idea for DSC to be a fundraising partner for the Big Break facility rather than see two competing facilities built for the same mission.
“We’ve been investing a lot of staff time into this (the DSC), but we haven’t seen anything in return,” Frazier said. “It troubles me.”
Councilwoman Carol Rios agreed: “I would like the city to pull back. If we were going to be successful, we would have been successful (by now).”
The DSC has been working on plans for a facility for more than 15 years. Despite Oakley’s exit, representatives from organizations such as the Ironhouse Sanitary District, the Sierra Club and Pacific Gas and Electric remain on the board.
No City Council meeting is scheduled for next week. The council’s final meeting of the year will be held Dec. 14.