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CITY OF MAYFIELD HEIGHTS

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES

July 23, 2007

 

 

The Committee of the Whole meeting was called to order at 6:30 P.M. by Council President Michael Ballistrea.

 

ROLL CALL: PRESENT: Mr. Michael Ballistrea, Mrs. Donna Finney,

Mr. Ronald Kobunski, Mr. Sam Mercurio,

Mr. David Sasak, Mrs. Diane Snider,

Mr. Howard Sonenstein.

ABSENT: None.

 

 

Also present were Mayor Gregory Costabile, Mr. Leonard Carr, Mr. Robert Tribby and Miss Lisa Benedetti.

 

 

The purpose of the meeting was to review Ordinance No. 2007-32, proposed changes pertaining to Section 121, Council Rules.

 

 

Mr. Ballistrea explained that the practices of Council were never in the code, so these amendments just spell them out.

 

Each amendment was explained and reviewed:

121.02 (b) – added the words "or President of Council" to who could call special meetings. All members were in agreement with the proposed amendment.

121.02 (d) – Added Sections 4 & 5.

(4) IT SHALL BE THE RIGHT, DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF THE COUNCIL PRESIDENT TO ASSIGN ALL CHAIRMEN AND OTHER NECESSARY MEMBERS TO EACH OF THE COMMITTEES REFERRED TO IN SECTION (l) OF THIS SECTION OR ANY OTHER COMMITTEE. SAID ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE MADE AT THE FIRST COUNCIL MEETING FOLLOWING THE ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING IN JANUARY, OR AS SOON AS THEREAFTER PRACTICABLE.

All members were in agreement with the proposed amendment.

 

(5) AT THE FIRST COUNCIL MEETING FOLLOWING THE ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING CALLED BY THE MAYOR IN JANUARY AND AT EACH SUCH MEETING THEREAFTER, THE PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL, IN HIS/HER DISCRETION, SHALL ASSIGN AND/OR CHANGE ANY OR ALL SEATING LOCATIONS OF COUNCIL MEMBERS, OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS, IN SUCH A FASHION SO AS TO ENSURE PRODUCTIVITY, DECORUM, AND THE EFFICIENT OPERATION OF COUNCIL AT SAID MEETINGS.

Mr. Sonenstein questioned why there would be the need for this after the initial seating arrangement. Mr. Ballistrea stated there could be a myriad of reasons, such as if someone did not like the person they were seated next to. The purpose is to maintain decorum. This would not be done very often.

All members were in agreement with the proposed amendment.

 

 

Section (l) Committees – Added a section after Item (8).

A COMMITTEE MEETING MAY BE CALLED OR SCHEDULED BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THAT PARTICULAR COMMITTEE OR BY THE COUNCIL PRESIDENT. SHOULD ANY OTHER COUNCIL MEMBER, CITY OFFICER OR CITY OFFICIAL BELIEVE THAT A COMMITTEE MEETING (OR A REFERRAL OF A MATTER TO A COMMITTEE), IS NECESSARY, THE MATTER OR ISSUE SHALL BE BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE COUNCIL PRESIDENT, WHO MAY THEN USE HIS/HER DISCRETION TO DETERMINE WHETHER TO REFER THE MATTER TO COMMITTEE OR TO SCHEDULE A COMMITTEE MEETING TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.

Mrs. Finney asked if committee members could call a meeting also. Mr. Ballistrea stated that it is the chair’s and has always been the chairman’s responsibility only to call a meeting. Mrs. Finney asked about increasing the number of committee members on each committee to three instead of the current two. Mr. Ballistrea stated that the information culled from other communities does show that many do have three committee members. This Council has only two members, but even if there is not an agreement between the two committee members the matter will always come back to Council for discussion whether there was total agreement or not. Mr. Sonenstein asked what Robert’s Rules of Order states in regards to committee members calling a meeting. Mr. Ballistrea stated that with only two members, it could not be done. Mayor Costabile commented that it is sometimes difficult to schedule committee meetings, especially at short notice, with just two committee members, so adding a third would make it even more difficult. Again, if there is a disagreement at the committee level, the subject could come back to Council, so he also believed two members are sufficient.

All members were in agreement with the proposed amendment.

 

 

There was some additional language added to the last paragraph of this section.

All committee meetings shall be open and a record of attendance of the members of the committee and action taken by that committee shall be kept in a record provided for that purpose, and such record shall be kept on file with the Clerk of Council and open to public inspection as are other public records. THE COMMITTEE CHAIR, IN HIS OR HER SOLE DISCRETION, SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER TO PERMIT MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO SPEAK AT ANY COMMITTEE MEETING. THE COMMITTEE CHAIR'S DECISION (WITH REGARD TO WHETHER TO ALLOW PUBLIC COMMENT) IS FINAL.

Mr. Sonenstein asked what Robert’s Rules of Order states for this matter. Mr. Carr explained that Robert’s Rules is the source that is used when our code is silent. This amendment is specifically articulated as to what would be allowed. It has been his experience that sometimes committee meetings get out of hand when the public is allowed to speak. All committee meetings are open to the public and should be, however, the public is not even guaranteed speech at council meetings. It is the City’s right to make rules under home rule provisions. Mr. Mercurio stated it is up to the chair to maintain control and it helps to articulate this rule. Mr. Sonenstein stated he agrees about the control factor, but he is not comfortable with it being the sole discretion of one person. Mayor Costabile commented that decisions from committees come to Council where a person can speak on the subject. Not having the public speak at committee meetings sometimes allows a committee to get the job done.

Mrs. Finney then questioned Item (6) of this section, the Legislative Committee, that states matters for this committee shall be referred by the Council President and that is not stated for any of the other committees. Mayor Costabile explained that because there are no specific matters listed for this committee, as there are for the other committees, that is why there is the referral language.

 

Mr. Sonenstein referred back to the issue of it being one person’s decision to allow or not the public to speak at committee meetings. Mr. Kobunski reiterated that this is more of a control of the meeting issue. Mr. Ballistrea stated that there is no public portion at committee meetings, so the public does not have an automatic right to speak. Mrs. Finney suggested that perhaps a time limit could be added, as there is for Council meetings. Mr. Ballistrea stated he would not be in favor of it. Either the chairman will allow a public portion and control it or not allow it at all depending on the issue being discussed. Mrs. Snider stated that in her experience the public has usually been allowed to speak at committee meetings and it has worked. Mr. Mercurio commented that he thinks Mr. Sonenstein is speaking of the extreme, but that is not what this amendment is for. Mr. Sonenstein replied that it is not right and he would not support the amendment. Mr. Ballistrea added that this is what is being practiced currently and this amendment merely puts the practice in writing.

 

Some members were in agreement with the proposed amendment.

 

 

There being no further comments, Mr. Ballistrea adjourned the meeting at 7:04 P.M.

 

 

Approved:                                                                            Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Michael Ballistrea                                                              Lisa A. Benedetti, MMC

Council President                                                              Deputy Clerk of Council