Quorum rule trips up city committee

A resident stages a sit-in after learning she won't be able to address the non-meeting. (Dan Coyne photo via Facebook)

A quorum rule that hadn't been updated after the membership of the Human Services Committee was reduced from six to five after last spring's election left the committee unable to meet this evening.

Typically the quorum for a committee meeting is a simple majority of the committee's members. But City Council Rule 21.4 sets the quorum for the Human Services Committee at four members, and with two members of the now five-member panel out sick tonight, the committee couldn't meet.

(In the photo above the three committee members present -- aldermen Judy Fiske, Peter Braithwaite and Cicely Fleming -- are joined on the dais by two city staff members.)

The inability to meet upset one resident who'd signed up to speak to the committee. She staged a brief sit-in, but abandoned it after being told she could confer with the police chief and individual aldermen informally to discuss her concerns.

The committee had been scheduled to discuss the results of a police internal investigation of the arrest last July of 12-year-old bicycle-rider Iain Bady.

That report exonerated officers involved in making the arrest of any wrongdoing, but conceded there'd been a mixup in selecting the appropriate form for Bady's father to sign in gaining his release.

That report now is to be reviewed at the committee's next meeting, on Dec. 4.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said a revision to the quorum rule will be brought before the next meeting of the Council's Rules Committee.



Whose responsibility to update the Rules?

   What department or person should  update a quorum rule? We just had a quorum problem or the lack of two people being appointed to the Ethnics committee earlier this year...correct me if I am wrong.   

Lets take a poll count. How many people would like the Human Services meetings  to meet at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.?