Anything but transparent
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
Most people are not aware of some of this detail, but please bear with me. It’s important to know the detail in this case.
Legislation typically requires three (3) readings before it will take effect. It can pass in a single reading given six of the seven council members vote to suspend the rules and thus permit any legislative change to take effect immediately. The majority voting bloc on council knows that two members will not vote with them on suspending rules. They need three readings to pass their agenda.
We have two city council meetings a month, held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. We have two workshops, which are generally used to discuss those items on upcoming agendas. Those are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Legislative readings are done at council meetings, not workshops.
So if you are on city council and facing losing the majority in the upcoming election, but you want to make sure you jam everything through on your agenda in three readings before you lose power… what would you do?
ADD AN EXTRA MEETING! And that is exactly what council is doing. Our Mayor, or three city council members, may request a special meeting with enough notice to other council members.
The normally scheduled meetings on 11/6 and 11/19 don’t allow enough time to pass for those three readings to occur. Council just added a Special Meeting on 11/12, which would normally be a workshop.
The items to be read three times?
Financial Agreement with Testa for Downtown Phase II Project
Adoption of 5-Year Plan
Adoption of 2020 Budget (appropriations)
Scheduled on 11/6, 11/12, 11/19, all these meetings are held AFTER the November 5th election. That means even after Bill loses his majority, they fully intend on pushing their agenda through by adding this 3rd meeting before a new council is seated on December 3rd.
That is as dishonest and deceitful as I have ever seen a City Council and Mayor act.
Look for other city legislation to take place now that the majority voting bloc is back from vacation. Our city managers salary review should have occurred already, but I believe it was postponed until they had the votes in attendance they wanted. Last year it was done by October 2nd. It is now on the agenda for November 6th. A quorum was present for the past several meetings - just not the people and votes that the voting bloc wanted.
Five people are up for election this November 5th. The Mayor and all four Ward Council Members. I hope you pick the side of those people who have been honest communicators throughout this process. Beth, Skylar, Ron, Craig... honest people willing to use their time, talent and energy for a positive change.
UPDATE 10/23/2019 2:15PM It has been brought to my attention that our City Manager may have placed this meeting on the agenda herself. As I stated earlier, only Three Council Members or the Mayor may request a special meeting. If our City Manager requested this meeting, perhaps she is in the drivers seat of this council rather than council itself?
If I were on council and this kind of action was taken by the City Manager I would request she stay in her lane and drive the operations of the city as directed by City Council.
I would further suggest City Council all publicly denounce this additional reading, ensuring that only two readings are held, and that the newly seated City Council be given an opportunity to have an impact on these three agenda items that will handcuff the new council for years to come.
Footer and full disclosure, below are the city ordinances to which I refer above about suspension of rules, quorum requirements, and when resolutions take effect. Section 3.05(f) The suspension of the rule requiring that legislation be read at three (3) separate Council meetings to permit legislation to be passed at one (1) meeting, provided there is an affirmative vote of five (5) members if only five (5) or six (6) are present, or an affirmative vote of six (6) members if seven (7) are present; except that no such suspension may be taken on any ordinance referring to zoning or building codes or other regulations controlling the use or development of land;
SECTION 3.07 QUORUM AND PROCEDURE.
A majority of the members of Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business at any meeting of the Council, but if a quorum is not present, a lesser number may adjourn the meeting from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as may be prescribed by ordinance. At any meeting where legislative action may be taken at which a quorum is present, any ordinance or resolution may be passed or adopted and any other action may be taken by the affirmative votes of four (4) members of the Council unless a larger number be required by the provisions of this Charter or by the laws of Ohio. (Amended 11-3- 15)
SECTION 3.09 ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS THAT TAKE IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
Ordinances or resolutions shall go into immediate effect if they provide for: appropriations for current expenses of the Municipality; or street and utility improvements petitioned for by the owners of a majority of the feet front of the property benefited and to be especially assessed for the cost thereof; or emergency ordinances or measures necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety in the Municipality. Such emergency ordinances or measures shall contain a statement of the specific reasons for such necessity in a separate section of the ordinance or other measure. Every such emergency measure or ordinance shall require the affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council for its enactment except that six (6) affirmative votes shall be required if all members are present. If such an emergency measure fails to receive the necessary affirmative votes but receives a necessary majority for adoption or passage as a regular measure, it shall be considered adopted or passed as a regular measure.
No action of the Council in authorizing the surrender of any of its powers or in granting any franchise, or in contracting for the supply to the Municipality or its inhabitants of the product or service of any utility, whether Municipally owned or not, or any ordinance referring to zoning or building codes or other regulations controlling the use or development of land, shall be taken as an emergency measure.