Our city council has directed our city attorney to draft an ordinance that would require the concurrence of three city council members in order for one of them to place an item on the city council agenda.
Our employee (the city manager) would evidently be free to place as many items on the agenda as she/he wishes.
This is quite simply a naked power grab.
We don’t know whether this idea is being promoted by the moneyed people who influence council or if city staff wants to further subjugate their masters.
We do know that two of the candidates for the district one seat are outspoken and not bashful about speaking out strongly against things that they disagree with. Is this proposed ordinance a way to limit the potential disruption that one of these candidates might bring to the plan that is directing the city?
One of the city council members pointed out that the proposed ordinance could cause violation of the Texas open meetings laws. The law specifically prohibits serial meetings between council members where city business is discussed. Requiring three council members to place an item on the agenda will require at least three of them to have discussed an item out of public view. If a council member wanted to put an item on an agenda she/he would have to reach out to other council members. If one of those members said no then it would be reasonable to expect the council member to try someone else. That could bring us to four members who had discussed the item, one shy of a law violating quorum.
The ordinance is a very bad idea.
We deserve better