Ward: Point of low orderWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
Legislative bodies have rules. Toledo City Council has some rules set out by the charter and some that council itself decrees. How the rules are applied was discussed at the May 3 Council meeting.
When members of council want to speak, they use a system of lights; they turn on their light and they are called on by whomever is chairing the meeting. They can also interject, asking for a “point of order.”
Legislation concerning a collective bargaining agreement between Toledo Municipal Court (TMC) and seven Toledo Municipal Court Deputy Clerk supervisors was presented and a suspension roll call was conducted. For legislation to be passed without two readings, the charter rules have to be suspended. This is accomplished by a quick reading of the names with speed worthy of an auctioneer.
Council President Wilma Brown recognized Councilman Steve Steel.
“I was going to move for a slow roll call on suspension … to keep it at first reading,” Steel said.
Discussion then ensued as to issues that were raised during council’s off-the-record discussion in executive session concerning this legislation. Steel wanted “a greater level of resolution.”
Clarification was sought on the legislation time frame from Law Director Adam Loukx.
“I’m not certain when this was submitted to the legislative body, but there is a 30-day requirement,” Loukx said.
During the April 26 Agenda Review, Councilman Rob Ludeman asked him about the time frame.
“We do have a little bit of time,” Loukx said. “After the executive session you can decide whether or not to first read or do whatever on May 3.”
It was said the deadline was May 20, after council meets on May 18.
Councilman Joe McNamara said there may be a legal disagreement as to whether this unit is a strike unit or not a strike unit but there’s no disagreement in terms of the economic impact of the terms of this contract. He said this becoming a bargaining pattern would be “catastrophic.”
Councilwoman Lindsay Webb wanted more clarification from legal counsel. She said she supported Steel.
Councilman D. Michael Collins said a two-week time period could give TMC the opportunity to go back to the table with the bargaining unit since it was clear this would not be approved.
Then a question was raised since the suspension roll call had been completed. Clarification was sought on if they were now beyond the point of they could redo a slow count on suspension.
A motion to reconsider was needed, which has taken place when a member of Council wants to change his or her vote. Though Council does not always follow that, several times under Brown’s council presidency, a member of Council has made a wrong vote, and was either allowed to change that vote or the vote was redone without the reconsideration process.
Ludeman said he needed to leave in five minutes, so he moved to reconsider.
If the motion for reconsideration passed, then council would start again as if the original suspension roll call never took place. If the motion failed, then suspension would stand.
While voting, Steel paused, McNamara provided clarification, Councilman Tom Waniewski said, “Don’t tell him.” Ludeman, Steel, Webb, Collins and Phil Copeland voted to allow reconsideration. The others voted no. The motion lost.
Steel said his light was on before roll call and questioned where in the Council rules it allows for a fast roll call.
“I attempted to follow the proper procedure,” Steel said. “I have been effectively silenced by a majority vote of fellow council members. I think that’s really, really unfortunate and a very low point in my almost two-year tenure on Council.”
Craig said Steel could have called point of order. There was laughter.
“Wow,” Webb said.
“Can we move on?” Brown said.
There is no written council rule allowing for the fast roll call; it’s something that Council adopted informally so that the meetings went faster as opposed to having a roll call vote on suspension and emergency then a full voice count on passage.
Then the fast roll call for emergency, which was stopped since clarification was needed as to where Council was. That resolved, Council voted on the ordinance; it failed.
Toledo Free Press Web Editor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog GlassCityJungle.com.
Tags: Adam Loukx, City of Toledo, D. Michael Collins, Glass City Jungle, Joe McNamara, Lindsay Webb, Lisa Renee Ward, Phil Copeland, Rob Ludeman, Shredding the Curtain, Steve Steel, Toledo City Council, Tom Waniewski