City Council Requires Three Representatives to Post Agenda Items
City council yesterday discussed and approved a request for the city attorney to draft a change to the process by how city representatives put items on the agenda. Item 23.2 “Discussion and action to give direction to the City Attorney to develop a resolution changing the rules concerning placing an item on the agenda” was placed by Ann Morgan Lilly. As there was no backup material on the electronic version of the city’s agenda, it was not possible to understand the extent of the changes being proposed by Ann Morgan Lilly.
Ann Morgan Lilly placed the item asking for city council to change how city representatives place items on the agenda. Currently, each city representative places an item on the agenda as they see fit. Under the proposed rule change requested by Ann Morgan Lilly, an item may only be placed on the city council agenda when two additional city representatives agree to add the item to the agenda. In other words, if the District 5 representative wants to place an item for discussion and action, they must first get two other city representatives to agree to the placement of the item on the agenda.
Ann Morgan Lilly’s item tasked the city attorney with drafting an ordinance to be approved by city council. City council is expected to vote on the item next week. City representative Carl Robinson was not present for the vote. Lily Limon voted against the drafting of the ordnance changing the way items are placed on the agenda. Acosta, Lilly, Niland, Noe, Ordaz and Romero voted for the drafting of the new language.
Lily Limon argued against the measure by expressing that the measure could lead to “walking quorums,” a violation of the open meetings laws. Ordaz added that in her experience, through the state legislature, the measure would lead to greater coordination between city officials, staff and elected officials. Noe and Romero also agreed that it would lead to greater efficiency as well. City manager, Tommy Gonzalez added that in his experience the change would lead to greater efficiency at the city.
Although it was discussed on whether the mayor would be considered as one of the required signatures for placing an item on the agenda, it was unclear during the discussions on whether the mayor would be counted as one of the three required signatures. I expect that this will be clarified in next week’s action by council.
To be clear, the action taken by city council yesterday, directs the city attorney to bring back an ordinance to be voted on by city council next week. Until then, the change in rules has not been adopted by city council.
Author’s note: I am holding back on commenting on this item until city council actually adopts it so that I can offer you a more concise commentary, as the item is still subject to changes.