Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Election Must Be In The Air

At Tuesday night's City Commission meeting, three items were tabled. In the three years I have been attending meetings, I don't think we've had a total of three items tabled.

For the first time that I can remember, a real discussion was held. For nearly an hour, the commission heard from both parties involved in this issue. After each party presented their side of the situation, Commissioner Bronson then asked them to step forward to answer questions he had. After that, he walked over to the interim planning director where a very short conversation ensued. It was after that conversation that Bronson made a motion to table the item in order to give both parties time to work out their differences.

The second item to be tabled was the Social Host Ordinance. The majority of the commissioners made it clear they will vote for this ordinance once certain language is clarified.

The third item to be tabled was item #6 on the agenda: Central Place Revitalization Urban Renewal Tax Increment District. Authorizes use of remaining tax increment cash from the Central Place Urban Renewal Revitalization Program. There was some discussion about this at the work session held just before the commission meeting, but questions/concerns remained.

Why does staff do this? This third item was on the city commission agenda for action. As far as I know, the only time any discussion ensued about it was at the work session meeting held just before the commission meeting. Doesn't it make more sense to hold a work session; get any kinks ironed out, then move forward with a vote during a future commission meeting?


Anonymous said...

From Roberts Rules website. FAQ's
Question 12:
Isn't it always in order to move to table a motion to the next meeting?

This question confuses the motion to Lay on the Table with the motion to Postpone to a Certain Time. The purpose of the motion to Lay on the Table is to enable an assembly, by majority vote and without debate, to lay a pending question aside temporarily in order to take up something else of immediate urgency. In ordinary societies it is rarely needed, and hence seldom in order. [RONR (10th ed.), p. 201-210; see also p. 127 of RONR In Brief.]

Question 13:
Can something be defeated by adopting a motion to table it?

This is a common violation of fair procedure. Such a motion is not in order, because it would permit debate to be suppressed by a majority vote, and only a two-thirds vote can do that. The proper use of the motion to Lay on the Table is stated in the answer to Question 12, immediately above. [RONR (10th ed.), p. 207-209.]

Anonymous said...

Now they have to figure how to get it off the table they left it on by mistake.

Anonymous said...

The motion to Lay on the Table is properly only used to lay something aside temporarily in order to attend to an immediately urgent matter, as in "Our speaker has just arrived, I move that we lay the pending motion on the table." It takes a majority vote and no debate is allowed--just vote either yes or no. So this motion could have the effect of cutting off debate with a majority vote, which normally requires a two-thirds vote. If adopted, some time later in the meeting or at the next meeting, a member can move to Take from the Table, and it too requires a majority vote.
The above information is only to clarify the difference between Lay on the Table and Postpone to a Certain Time, so that a point of order can be raised next time it happens. The fact is that since no point of order was raised at the time the chairman failed to follow the rules, means that it is too late to object now. A point of order must be timely. So all the improprieties of how this motion came to Lay on the Table are moot. The fact is that it is currently is in that state.