Thursday, October 31, 2013

Memphis City Council Rules Committee Still Working on 'Easy Stuff'

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Leaders of the various Memphis City Council committees will rotate each year if the full council approves a proposal from the ad hoc group of council members looking to change the rules and procedures of the city's legislative body.

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The proposal was approved by the committee created last month to rein in some behaviors from council members and change how the council conducts business. Councilman Myron Lowery brought the proposal to the table in the committee's meeting Thursday afternoon.

"Some people believe they own a committee because they have chaired them for two or three years," Lowery said.

Councilman Bill Boyd countered that the years spent chairing a committee bring an expertise on a topic which "serves the whole council." But that expertise can be problematic, said Councilwoman Wanda Halbert, as some "start acting like members of the administration and not legislators."

The committee also approved a "fiscal consent" category for the council's agenda that will allow some routine spending items to pass more quickly through the council approval process.

The committee said it will also enforce the Thursday deadline for submitting agenda items for the following Tuesday's council meeting. Halbert said she is "uncomfortable" voting on items that she has not time to consider and said the rule is frequently broken by members of A C Wharton's administration.

The committee also discussed creating uniform procedures for limiting speaking times for council members and members of the public and discussed policies on council members leaving meetings early.

While neither meeting of the committee have yet produced the fireworks some expected, Halbert said she wanted the committee to deal with "the easy stuff" first.

"We have stuff coming that might be a little funny looking and a little sensitive," she said.

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