Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What do you do with a hanging agenda item?

The BMA meeting last night left me dumbfounded, befuddled, astonished, and somewhat depressed. This was all about the obfuscation going on by the administration when they were asked questions concerning the alcohol ordinance the body passed last November 28. I find it depressing that a citizen has to spell out exactly what it is they actually passed, but, whatever, I guess it is my job (although it SHOULDN'T be). Sigh. That will have to wait for another post. For now, just trust me - I felt like uncorking a bottle of wine when I got home--a Snickers bar was definitely not enough comfort. This all came up because of the public hearing last night on the so-called "corrections" to the November 28 ordinance.

My favorite posts are all about pointing out absurdities, and therefore I am happy to report that I am leaving the alcohol topic for another day and raising the title question: What do you do with a hanging agenda item? 

You see, another marker of the long evening was the agenda item additions that were suggested by Dean Massey. Two were shot down in 3-2 votes.  There were no surprises here. Aldermen Massey and Barzizza voted together, and Aldermen Gibson, Owens, and Janda voted together.  (These were not discussions of the merits, but simply votes on whether to entertain discussions and votes on these.)

1. A vote on whether or not to give the Mayor the authority to sit on the negotiating team for GMSD's bid for two of the three legacy Germantown schools. Alderman Massey said that this was for legal reasons. (YES: Barzizza and Massey, NO: Gibson, Janda, and Owens) 

2. A rule to allow aldermen to respond to Citizens to Be Heard comments. (YES: Barzizza and Massey, NO: Gibson, Janda, and Owens) 

Oh, but then there's that third one........... 

The outcome of the third one was more of a surprise and a bit of a headscratcher. Alderman Massey suggested that the Executive Sessions be recorded. Apparently he had raised this same idea at the Executive Session prior to the last BMA meeting, but somehow the idea was unilaterally shot down by the Mayor, or ignored, or something. There was a long discussion concerning adding this agenda item and when to vote on it and the appropriate wording, (eg, they all decided that minutes were not necessary).  It was finally decided that last night an agenda item would be added to vote on whether to add to the agenda for the next meeting a resolution to record the Executive Sessions.  By a 5-0 vote, this was added as an agenda item last night. It should have been assigned an agenda number.   

One would think that this would have then been voted on at the meeting, correct?  You know, like it was supposed to have been? A vote on whether to add this as an agenda item for the next meeting?......... You would be WRONG. So I leave this blog post without a conclusion. What happens with a hanging agenda item?  Stay tuned, I guess? 

In the meantime I will say I attended last night's Executive Session, and I emphatically agree not only that Mr. Massey's agenda item to add an agenda item for the next BMA meeting should have been voted on last night, I also agree with recording the Executive Sessions. That would be extremely helpful. 

If you agree you may write your aldermen.  You could also mention that it would be helpful if approved agenda item additions actually had votes taken on them during the meeting, rather than being ignored by the Mayor. I would also email the Mayor, since he seems to control the agenda for the meetings.

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