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SLO city manager's Task Force opens doors to the public 

The formerly members-only Fiscal Sustainability Task Force is now open to the public, said Katie Lichtig, city manager for the city of San Luis Obispo.

“There has been considerable community dialogue about who was invited to participate in the meetings and the members of the Task Force,” Lichtig said in a press release on July 16. “There have been some who have criticized me and the future work of the Task Force for limiting these meetings to Task Force members only. When I first envisioned the Task Force, I thought this approach would give the participants more opportunity for candid conversations with their fellow Task Force members and a forum to ask difficult questions without fear that their words would appear in the newspaper or on TV.”

New Times reported in its June 30 issue that Lichtig had formed a task force to examine and report to her their take on the city’s financial problems. The members of the group, hand picked by Lichtig, include many of the city’s establishment: company presidents and CEOs, including bank heads; builders and developers; and staff from the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association. City employees amount to a third of the task force.

Because of the controversy—the fire and police unions pulled their representatives out, citing the pro-establishment makeup and secretive nature of the group—Lichtig said she took the issue to the task force.

“After discussing this issue with the Task Force yesterday, the meetings will from now on be open to the public and press,” she wrote. “I am hopeful that this change will eliminate an unnecessary distraction and refocus the Task Force on the important work of thinking creatively and constructively about our future financial sustainability,”

The next meeting is July 22 at noon at the San Luis Obispo Veterans’ Hall. Since the meeting will take place during the lunch hour, attendees are invited to bring their own meals.

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