Wednesday, January 13, 2016
MORE VIEWPOINT ON COUNCIL MEETING
Before the Council got into the business of the night deciding what “items” to place on next Tuesday’s agenda there were two items for Council discussion.
One on the conduct of the Council meetings was short as Storch stated that the Council will stick to “its rules” based on Roberts Rules of Order. One issue was “a “point of order” which Corporation Counsel Minchello defined as “procedural not substantial”. It is applicable to a deviation from proper Parliamentarian procedure not a subject under discussion per se.
There should also be clarification of a question or request of “Personal Privilege”. Sturgis states its purpose as “To enable a member to secure an immediate decision and action by the presiding officer on a request that concerns the comfort, convenience, rights, or privileges of the assembly or of himself as a member, or permission to present a motion of urgent nature even though other business is pending”.
Its use would prevent some of the out of control interpersonal arguments that too often give the circus atmosphere to the Council meetings.
The second subject; access the “Robo-call” notification system was initiated by request from Gloria Taylor. Whether it was prompted by Councilor Taylor having been refused to use it for a message about a meeting or perhaps by the Mayor’s message last fall when the Youth Summit meeting was cancelled in which he remarked that the reason was an “executive decision” by the Superintendent of Schools Anna Belin-Pyles.
Perhaps her alluding to that incident also explains her subsequent support of the Campbells on the BOE election vote issue.
Taylor felt that the system was being denied to Council members as well as being used by administration (the Mayor) for political reasons. She felt that Councilors should have free access She asked for a resolution permitting the Council (members) to use the system. Also for the Council to determine who could use it.
“Corporation Counsel David Minchello said a draft policy had been prepared, allowing use of the system for both council and administration for events or emergencies. It is not to be used for political purposes, he said, but the issue is "what is political" and who should be the arbiter - the council, administration, or city clerk's office.”
After City Administrator Rick Smiley said he believed the final determination on use of the call system should be made by his office at Minchello’s suggestion the Council moved that a small committee representing both branches of government should work on a draft policy to be put it on the February agenda,
My opinion is that is a misuse of the system for anything other than emergencies and alerting the public to conditions that will impact on its safety or welfare. The present policy of frequent calls always a dinner time to also announce events or meetings I not only counterproductive to the purpose of the system but also like that of the telemarketers, an unwelcome invasion of the recipient’s privacy. The net results is that ultimately the calls will be ignored and a true urgency missed.
The Robo-Calls should be restricted to its intended function.