The new Lawrence City Commission found out Friday it had a number of "top" goals.
For about 3 hours, commissioners discussed and began setting priorities for a list of about 20 issues and projects that may be dealt with during the next few years.
At the end of the session, receiving a city task force report on racism and discrimination topped the priority list.
Commissioners also directed city staff to schedule a two-day goal-setting retreat in September or October and decided to conduct study sessions on reduction of their own quorum requirement, city regulation of private clubs and drinking establishments, and the city's new long-range planning document, Horizon 2020.
"This is not setting values," Mayor Bob Walters said. "This is sorting for future action consideration."
The commissioners, two of them newly elected on April 2, reviewed a priority list of issues agreed upon by the previous commission. They agreed to continue to support those priority issues and discussed a list of their own items and other issues suggested by city staff. Commissioners used a grading system to begin prioritizing issues.
Commissioner John Nalbandian earlier proposed the discussion on reducing the commission's quorum requirement.
Under the state's open meetings law, if more than half of a quorum of a public body gathers to discuss official business, the meeting must be open to the public. Since the commission's quorum is four, two commissioners cannot discuss city business outside of a public meeting. A reduction in the commission's quorum would be a way to get around that requirement and allow such discussions to occur.
An ordinance governing bars was discussed by the previous commission following disturbances at several Lawrence nightspots.
A state law passed recently did not include so-called nuisance controls, which would be a highlight of the local ordinance.
Other top items included a list of changes in the policy regarding how items are placed on the commission agenda, formulating an ordinance for minimum living conditions in mobile home parks, a study session to develop goals for sister city exchanges and a policy for official travel to the sister cities, and a study session on downtown expansion.
Commissioners in April directed city staff to make suggestions on ways to remove zoning recommendations, site plans and minor expenditure items from the commission's discussion agenda to save time at meetings. At Friday's session, they received a memo from City Manager Mike Wildgen on the topic and will discuss it at a future meeting.