Friday, October 3, 2008

Oct 2. Council Meeting Puzzles

The highly anticipated hearing of Crystol Birdwell was postponed until the next meeting in October (16th) after Ms. Birdwell's attorney didn't appear. Former Mayors Linda Root and Don Hudson sat in the audience. Mayor Pro Tem Matias Leal presided. Click Here to View the Agenda.

Coucilman Dean Rolison was not present, leaving only four members including Matias Leal as chairman of the proceedings. Some discussion about the voting procedures was heard throughout the meeting from members of the audience. According to the Texas Municipal League, a mayor pro tem acting as mayor retains voting rights.

The meeting was fairly well attended by the public despite the lack of parking due to the first night of Pioneer Days Celebration. The first four items on the agenda (Sept 18 minutes, expense items report, inter local agreement with Dallas County for Health/Food inspections, use of the Community Center as a polling place) were passed unanimously and all motions were made or seconded by Tiny Lange and Marlena Dyess.

In an apparent suspension of the parliamentary procedure (Robert's Rules of Order), motions were made and the vote called on without calling for discussion among the council. The next four agenda items were objected to by Eugene Lowe following the vote as no discussion was allowed preceding the vote. The budget, tax levy and ratification of the budget were passed 3-1 with Mr. Lowe voting NO on all items. His objections to considering the measures were that no second public hearing was held on the budget nor were the notices timely completed in accordance with statute. A unknown City Attorney advised the council to proceed. (ED NOTE: It appears that HB 3495 and HB 3630 updated the statutes effective January 2008, specifying two public hearings and different notice requirements.)

One issue not discussed was the adoption of a budget and tax levy with only a simple majority of council members, as opposed to 2/3 majority ("super majority") that some attendees stated was required by statute. The dissent revolves around whether the percentage is calculated based on the full council or only the members present. With one of five voting no and one of five not present, the remaining three comprise only 60% of the full council. Three of four members present comprises 75%. (ED NOTE: We were unable to verify the statutory requirements before press time)

The termination of City Secretary Crystol Birdwell was postponed at her request due to her attorney not being present. After a short break prior to the planned executive session, Ms. Birdwell requested the action be postponed until the first meeting in November. The City Attorney asked to the council to convene in Executive Session to consider Ms. Birdwell's postponement request under the attorney-client privilege exception. Upon reconvening the open session, a motion was made to postpone the hearing until the next regularly scheduled meeting October 16.

Shortly after the meeting was adjourned, Wilmer paramedics attended Ms. Birdwell at the community center - thankfully an ambulance ride was not necessary.

1 comment:

proofs in the pudin' said...

I'm not sure, but I believe the super majority is only needed in a special called meeting like Tuesdays. A simple majority at a regularly call one. Might be mistaken, but I think that's the rule.