Despite a Contentious Meeting, City Council Votes to Add Councilmember to Rules Committee
August 19, 2017
By Stephanie Edwards
While the discussion at times turned heated, members of the City Council passed a motion to add Councilmember Fred DeMoro to the Council Rules Committee as a full voting member.
Prior to the vote, Councilmember DeMoro had been an alternate to the Committee.
Councilmember Dave Mosby moved to add Councilmember DeMoro during the Council Roundtable portion of the August 17 Council work session. He expressed his concerns over not having a representative from District 4.
Last night, the Rules Committee discussed what Councilmember Mosby considered “a pretty important topic,” the proposed ethics policy for the City Council.
“District 4 citizens were not represented,” Councilmember Mosby said. “I don’t want to cause any trouble, but I do think it is important that the full city is represented on committee. That committee is adopted by ordinance. It is just as legitimate as the finance committee, public works, or any of the others.”
Voters approved the matter the Rules Committee is currently working on, he said, including the 25,000 people in District 4.
Councilmember Mosby asked Mayor Pro Tem Rob Binney if he had plans to consider adding a representative from District 4 on the Committee.
“Councilmember Mosby, I have considered it, and just as when we appointed the Committee, some councilmembers didn’t want a heavy workload,” he said. “When we took all those roles into consideration, and made those appointments, they were approved this Council.” He pointed out that Councilmember DeMoro, who serves District 4, is the alternate for the Committee.
“Mayor, will all due respect to the Mayor Pro Tem, I would like to make a motion that the alternate Councilmember DeMoro be assigned at this point as a full, voting member of the Rules Committee so that he may participate in the discussions and represent the citizens of District 4, who voted for that item,” Councilmember Mosby said.
Councilmember DeMoro seconded the motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Binney asked if he understood the councilmember correctly. “Those committees have been appointed and approved by this Council, and now by motion those committees are being changed,” the mayor pro tem said.
“I would refer the Council to the provision within the Charter, however, stating that it is within the authority of the mayor pro tem to appoint the members of committees," City Attorney Brian Head said.
Councilmember Mosby pointed out that the Charter does not prohibit making changes later on.
Head agreed that the Charter is silent on the matter.
Councilmember Diane Forte commented that members of the Council received Councilmember Mosby’s email earlier in the day about the discussion points, with the exception of Councilmember Trish Carlyle to whom she forwarded the email.
“I’ve gone down this road before,” she said. “It seems like this has been discussed before we’re here.” She questioned how many committees Councilmember DeMoro currently sits on, and said that that was a lot for one person to sit on.
Councilmember DeMoro sits on Public Works Committee and Community and Economic Development Committee, and serves as an alternate for Finance and Budget Committee as well.
She said that the motion was disrespectful. “It puts every single one of us in a really bad situation. It’s not a situation that we need to be in,” she said. “But it’s something that someone who doesn’t like what happened is going to bring it up now. So, there you go, and there we are, and I hate it.”
Mosby said it bothers him to be considered disrespectful for asking questions on procedure. “It kind of shows your character,” he said. “The ethics policy should be tooled and worked by the Committee, and all of the citizens of the City should participate in that.”
Councilmembers Forte and Carlyle left the dais during his comment.
“I’m sorry if there are people on this body that think that all of the citizens don’t have a voice,” Councilmember Mosby said. “Last time I checked, we have a republic form of government, and in a republic form of government the elected officials are the representatives of the people, and have the ability to voice for them when they are not present.”
Councilmember Mosby then called attention to Mayor Pro Tem Binney whispering to the mayor that this was out of order. Mayor Pro Tem Binney said that it was out of order and unfortunate for Councilmember Mosby to comment on the character of other councilmembers.
“You crossed a line,” Councilmember Mosby said. He said that not all of the people wanted the Charter amendment that gave a mayor pro tem the ability to appoint committee members. People were concerned, he said, that there was concern that the amendment would give the mayor pro tem the power to push his or her political agenda. He stated that it was obvious at the Rules Committee meeting the night before that the mayor pro tem and Councilmember Carlyle discussed many items beforehand. “You only had three people on there so that you could work your political agenda,” he said. “Why don’t you open it up like other committees and have four people, with each district represented?”
Councilmember Phyllis Edson commented that Councilmember DeMoro was the one person on the Council who should be on the committee. His input for the ethics policy is invaluable, she said.
Councilmember Craig Faith said that he agreed with the points about Councilmember DeMoro’s qualifications, but added that the Councilmember would have the ability to testify and otherwise participate in the passage of the ethic policy.
“I would be very concerned about changing policy and format for this when there are open dialogue possibilities for the full Council to address the policy, or any proposed policy,” he said.
The motion passed with a 4-3 vote. Councilmembers Mosby, Seif, DeMoro, and Edson voted in the affirmative. Mayor Pro Tem Binney and Councilmembers Faith and Forte voted against the appointment of Councilmember DeMoro to the Rules Committee. Councilmember Carlyle was absent from the dais at the time of the vote.