Pre-meeting public comment has no takers…again. Billy starts right in on the agenda. Moves to remove the item concerning appointments to the ethics board. M.C. initiates a discussion with County Attorney Chomel asking if they remove the item would be they be able to discuss it later on. The answer is no, once an item is removed you can no longer talk about it. Billy then suggests to remove it and then to put it back on the agenda later for discussion. Chomel says, and I quote, that it would be “cumbersome and futile” to remove an item just to put it right back on again. And, oh, how we laughed, and laughed because cumbersome and futile is the perfect description of Billy’s style of governing.
We fear that Billy is also confused about when he should say no and when he should abstain. He gave a hearty no to the agenda, but an abstain to the consent agenda and then a yes to the meeting minutes, which is a departure from his usual fashion. It’s hard to keep things straight when when you don’t have a real consistent philosophy.
Some very nice representatives from FCC came before the council to discuss the budget of their fine school. We learned that there will be a small increase in tuition and no increase in student fees.There seems to be some loss in the dining services department and this is where the talk gets a little dicey. Kirby and Billy want to know why outside companies are not being considered. Well, the nice lady tells the story of how they looked into outsourcing the child care center and found that it was not feasible. And holy moly, I guess not everyone is on the privatization train. She even goes on to say she does not want to privatize the custodial or dining services because she would like those people to keep their jobs. Hurray! The only one to vote against the budget in the end was Billy.
Billy is the sole abstainer on the two appointees to the appeals board and then we are on to the real drama of the evening…ethics.
Let’s start off in praise of the four women who sat before the council this evening. They kept their cool under some really trying circumstances. We have seen a few of these ladies speak in their roles as representatives of the League of Women voters. Every single time they have been articulate and well just awesome. Tonight was no different.
The discussion centered around the pilot program to chose people to sit on the ethics board. It was determined that in order to sit on the board, you would have to prove yourself to be non-partisan. There are a few criteria to prove this: You cannot have held public office in the last four years, served on a central committee for the last 10, have aspirations to run for office or have been involved in a political campaign. They would also like representatives from the two local universities, the United Way, the rotary club and the Unitarian church. The Unitarian church was chosen since it encompasses a variety of faiths. The potential members would only be interviewed by the nominating committee, not the County Executive or the County Council, with final approval from the Executive. If you remember the beginning of our post we spoke of Billy trying to remove this agenda item. It was because he thinks the council should interview the members of the board. The ladies vehemently disagree with him as do the other members of the council. It shouldn’t be difficult to grasp the concept as to why an ethics board should not come before the council. Shouldn’t be being the two key words.
But of course we all know who is going to throw the biggest fit.
We’ve written before of Kirby’s Pavlovian response to hearing the word ethics, and tonight was NO different. Our esteemed council member has a suggestion as to a new question that should be asked of our potential ethics board members. Are you ready?
“If your decision is overturned by Executive Order, how will you react?”
BAM! Take that Jan! But seriously people, how long is this going to go on?
Kirby continues by saying the reason you don’t have people lining up to be on the ethics board is because they are afraid that every decision they make will be overturned by Queen Jan. One of the patient nice ladies disagrees completely with this theory to which Kirby tells her you can disagree but thems the facts. Jerry ventures out into the choppy waters to get clarification as to when the County Executive can issue Executive Orders. This causes our dear county contract-less council member to then scream: All the time! But no the answer is she can only make an order when the issue comes under the Executive’s power. Like county contracts. Kirby tries to say what she did was illegal, gets shut down again, but hey why let the facts get in the way? We keep forgetting he’s the only one in possession of the real facts.
Billy tries to disparage our fine ladies. Proclaims that two of them were involved in a lawsuit against the county. So how can they be non-partisan? And we do not know how these ladies keep their cool, but the one he seems to be addressing asks him directly to what he is referring to. Oh you know, proclaims Shreve. Well, no, no, no. The fine lady tells him that she was never a part of a lawsuit but a representative of a position for the League of Women Voters. And she wasn’t even a part of the ethics nominating committee so the big gotcha moment that Shreve thought he had totally blew up in his face. You know what Billy, citizens can have a position on a piece of county legislation with out it being a partisan affair. You know what else is a popular non-partisan affair in these here parts? Lamenting the legislating style of one Billy Shreve. The new members are appointed 6-1.
The final observation of the evening comes during County Executive appointments. Billy doesn’t like the fact that one of the committees, concerning loans, does not have an expiration date. He tries to put forth a motion, that M.C. tries to parse for him. It’s here that Jessica interjects telling M.C. that she shouldn’t have to make Billy’s motion for him. He is instructed to write his motion down and his reply? He doesn’t need to write it down two other people are doing it already.