July 22, 2014

Council meeting canceled for lack of quorum

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
City officials canceled a city council meeting due to lack of a quorum on May 6. The cancellation came within hours of the meeting’s scheduled start time.
There are only four members of the five-person council. The May 6 agenda included Mayor Chris Morrow’s recommendation to appoint Tory Roberts to the council. Current city ordinance requires four council members in order to conduct business. Council member Larry Fotovich told city officials he had a family schedule change that would prevent him from attending Monday’s meeting.
Council debated repealing the ordinance, no. 19, that requires a four-person quorum during an April 29 meeting.
At that meeting, Fotovich said the four-person quorum creates a problem when there are vacancies on the council.
“If one of us were gone today, we couldn’t have a meeting,” Fotovich said at the April 29 meeting.
During the same meeting, however, council member Steve Shute said lowering the quorum requirement implies that fewer people are needed to make a decision. With a three-person quorum, only two people would need to agree in order to conduct city business.
“We do have a quorum issue, but lowering the number sends the wrong message,” Shute said.
He suggested increases the number of council members to six or seven members to address the problem.
Council members declined to repeal the ordinance, but reached a consensus to consider and draft changes to the existing ordinance or a new ordinance that would also address how members are appointed to the council.
In addition to considering an appointment to the council on May 6, the governing body was scheduled to: conduct a public hearing for Festival on the Trails to receive a temporary liquor license; consider health and vision packages for city employees; approve utility right-of-ways and easements related to the new schools USD 231 is building.

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