Monday, March 9, 2009

Nonpartisan city elections Round 4: Ding-Ding.

Florence City Council once again deferred the issue of nonpartisan elections today. Quite frankly, I'm tired of the issue so I'm not really going to get into it again. But, for members of council, let me help and give a tip: You can not vote on the a matter, until you call the question. You would think everyone would understand this, but apparently not.

Today, there was a motion to defer from Councilman Brand that was seconded. However, Councilman Williams wished to have debate. During that debate, Councilman Williams proposed an amendment (setting the deferment date to November). That secondary motion (the amendment -- the actual motion to defer being primary) was seconded.

After a little further debate, Councilman Brand moved to vote. It was seconded. THAT VOTE WAS TO CALL THE QUESTION. In other words, they had to vote to call the question on the motion to amend, so that they could vote down that amendment (setting the date of the deferment) and then proceed to vote to call the question on the principle motion. Then, they could have finally voted on the principle motion to defer.

So calling the question is put to a vote and what happened? The 4 proponents of nonpartisan voted against calling the question. In other words, they were voting for not ending the debate on Williams motion to amend. This is debate which would need to end, before they could vote against the amendment, which they wanted to do so they could move on and vote on their motion to defer. Why did they vote against it? I can only guess because despite this issue coming up at the last four meetings (the process needed to move to vote on the principle issue -- termed "calling the question"), some members of council still have not figured it out and did not understand what they were voting on.

Robert's Rules is not that difficult. Really it is not. It may behoove you to put pen to paper during these meetings and keep track of the procedure so you know where you are at.

Just saying...

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