Friday, October 19, 2012

Read this!

Last night during the ongoing soap opera that Trenton’s city government has become, we were treated to yet another attempt to elect a council vice president.

Councilman at large Alex Bethea wanted to introduce a motion to nominate and vote on someone to hold the gavel should the president not be present at a council meeting.

Council president Phyllis Holly-Ward was having no part of it.

And for good reason.

The existing rules of procedure do not call for the election of a vice president of council.

Mr. Bethea is obviously ignorant of the rules. He complained, loudly and forcefully that he had never belonged to any organization that did not have rules providing for some one to preside over a meeting in the absence of the designated chair.

I would refer Mr. Bethea to the following section of the Rulesof Procedure as found in the Trenton city code:


Call to Order; President Pro Tem
The President shall take the Chair at the hour appointed for the meeting, and shall immediately call the Council to order. In the absence of the President, the Clerk or his/her designee shall call the Council to order. The Clerk shall then determine whether a quorum is present and in that event shall call for the election of a temporary President. Upon the arrival of the President, the temporary President shall forthwith relinquish the Chair upon the conclusion of the business immediately before the Council.


Not a single mention of the existence of an elected vice president.

It should also be pointed out that the current rules of order do not call for the election of a new president each year of the for year terms. This is something that was started by this council without consulting or conforming to the current rules of order.
The Presiding Officer
Election and duties. The presiding officer of the Council shall be the President, who shall be elected at the organization meeting. The presiding officer shall preserve strict order and decorum at all regular and special meetings of the Council. He/She shall state every question coming before the Council and announce the decision of the Council on all matters coming before it. He/She shall appoint special committees of the Council. The President may vote on all questions, his/her name being called last. The President shall sign all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the Council during his/her presence. In the event of the absence of the President, such ordinances and resolutions shall be signed by the presiding officer.

Council president Holly-Ward is aware of this and has said that she wants to have a document drawn up and submitted for passage that would amend the rules to make sure the body is in compliance and vice/versa. We hope that this is accomplished sooner rather than later.

Mr. Bethea needs to read and familiarize himself with these rules and stop wasting the council’s time


Anonymous said...

Sadly, Trenton is being run by scofflaws.

Robert Elliott Chilson said...

You mean to say "our time." lol