Friday, January 17, 2020

A Council Meeting With Gross Procedural Errors 1/13/20

This past Monday's meeting (1/13/20) of the city council was an abomination. Soooo many things were off base that I had to wait a few days before blogging about it. Had to calm down, gather my thoughts so that I could post coherently.

First, there was a tie in the vote for President of the Council. The choice should have been a no brainer. Keep in mind that one of the functions is to be able to assume the mayor's position should the mayor become unable to perform. So, let's look at the two individuals who were up for the election to this position.

Lisa Larson-Bunnell: Just finished one year on the council after having been appointed to replace now convicted felon Justin Adrian. Recently she did win an election to be the councilmember for the remaining two years of that term.

Eric Jenkins: Is an elected four year member of the council and just reelected for another four years. He also served for twenty-one years on the Shawnee Planning Commission. He has  been a member of the Shawnee Downtown Partnership Committee and the Shawnee Economic Development Council. Additionally he served as the SMNW Advisor to the SM School Board. As a senior manager with FEMA he performed in various capacities to include that of Federal Coordinating Officer. That is the FEMA individual who is responsible for approving/authorizing activities to rebuild communities devastated by disasters.

The mayor exercised her option not to break the tie. This IMHO was a bad move. The choice should have been obvious. Duhhhhhh!

So what happened next? The city manager whispered something into the mayor's ear and the next thing we hear is that the item is being tabled until a future meeting. The same thing happened with the election for the Vice-Chairman of the Council Committee (Kemmling vs Constance).

What? A unilateral decision to table an agenda item? Despite the city attorney's subsequent comments about the mayor ruling on points of order, he skirted the issue of the tabling of the item. Check Robert's Rules of Order. A motion would have needed to be made, seconded, and then affirmed by a majority vote to table the item. Bad advice to the mayor if that is what the city manager whispered. There was still time to revisit the issue and either continue the voting process or table the item properly. That would have been something that the city attorney needed to jump in and advise.  Very unhappy that the city attorney did not step in on this one.

Now this brings up another contentious item. The fact that the city manager and the city attorney sit on the dais with the governing body. This has been brought up before. Shawnee is the only city in JoCo where this happens. These two staff members need to either be seated with the rest of the staff in the gallery or at another table in the well. This would also eliminate whispered comments by either person to the mayor or any member of the governing body. Any comments they make need to be on open mic and thus recorded in the minutes. These are open meetings. Going forward any whispered comments will be reported as violations of KOMA. Not a threat......a promise. Get them off the dais to take away that temptation.

Sidebar: Not too long ago I mentioned that Councilmember Lindsey Constance, based on some of her comments, would probably be taking over for Mickey Sandifer as making the dumbest comments on the council. She proved me right this past Monday. Even after the explanations of how the mayor does not have to vote to break a tie she inquired if there was any way to make the mayor vote to break a tie. Duhhhhhh! Hey "teach" (said with a strong NYC accent) ya needs ta read Charter Ordinance 45 and Policy Statement 7. Let me know when ya finished yer homework assignment cuz I got a 20 question test fer youse. Ya wanna be a state senator and ya don't even know the basics of these two documents for the city. IMHO she probably only wanted to be committee vice-chair so as to beef up her political resumé. Useless...............

Sidebar 2: Without a council president, if something happened to the mayor, the next person in line would be the senior council member by tenure and that would be Dr. Kemmling. Even if we had a vice-chairman of the council committee that person is not in the line of succession.