Only one conclusion can be reached – that their absence was intentional
by Rob Weisgerber
I recently attended the September 26th city council meeting with council members Ted Phelps and Kathy Bailey. This was a scheduled meeting and had been on the calendar, as per the charter. Unfortunately, the meeting never took place due to a lack of quorum when the other three members of council did not show up. (City council no-shows: “Alignment of planets” or “Act of political cowardice?”)
To cancel a meeting requires a vote of the council – there is no unilateral authority by any one member to cancel or reschedule a planned meeting.
Most importantly, I did not find a case where there was a lack of quorum to do the business of the City.
If and when an individual member of council cannot make a meeting, it has not been an issue. However, In my history on council I can’t remember a time when 3 members had last-minute plans come up which caused a lack of quorum, halting a regularly scheduled meeting.
Council members do sometimes have to miss meetings. Almost always council votes to excuse him or her. The fact that people miss meetings is not disputable or even in question in my opinion. As a matter of openness, I have missed roughly 18 meetings over 7 years (that is about 165 meetings). This is about an average of 2 to 3 meetings per year. With legitimate reason or cause, being excused is appropriate for any member of council.
I could not remember in my history on council when we have had 3 members of council miss the same meeting or, even worse, not having a quorum to conduct city business. Nor could I find any request to move a meeting because a couple of members could not make the meeting. This is the real issue. Looking back through the last 8 years of records, I could find about 4 or 5 meetings where 2 members missed the same meeting. No meetings in that time had 3 members missing a meeting. Most importantly, I did not find a case where there was a lack of quorum to do the business of the City.
Several times while on our family vacation, as happened this year in August, I flew home at my own expense to make the scheduled meeting.
The first I had received any information from Vice-Mayor Angie Settell was through the city solicitor, about 60 hours following our last regular meeting. The email stated that there may be a problem and she wanted a special meeting the following week. This discussion should have taken place at the council meeting just 2 and 1/2 days prior. My schedule is very busy and full and I could not accommodate her request. Council members Bailey, Ted Phelps, and I did propose other dates but I received no feedback regarding our offer. I did make it clear that priority has to be given to the scheduled meetings as we all know they are coming and can plan. If I make plans that I can control I schedule them for non-council weeks. Several times while on our family vacation, as happened this year in August, I flew home at my own expense to make the scheduled meeting. There are times outside of my control when I can’t make a meeting due to work commitments.
I did not receive Ms. Settell’s email claiming to be a press release. I also noticed a real issue with the date of the notice being September 19th as meeting alternatives were offered following that date.
In the last several months we have now had Pam Gross, Steven Zamagias, Settell, and former mayor Mark Fitzgerald vote to schedule a meeting where Bailey, Phelps, and I could not attend, a walk out meeting where Gross, Zamagias, Settell, and Fitzgerald created a lack of quorum to do the business of the city by abruptly ending it and walking out. Now we have the same members not showing up so no meeting can occur. Only one conclusion can be reached – that their absence was intentional – again.
While I have missed meetings before, not once did any absence of mine preclude the business of the city getting accomplished. I take my commitment to you and the city seriously.
Rob Weisgerber is a member of Loveland City Council