Dysfunctional City Council

gavelhitAt the May 7th City Council meeting one thing became very clear, the constant interruptions by the Mayor over those in the city council who have the floor.

The mayor, as presiding officer, has the primary responsibility  of ensuring that the council’s rules of procedure are followed and for maintaining the dignity of council meetings. The mayor calls the meeting to order and confines the discussion to the agreed order of business. He or she recognizes councilmembers for motions and statements and allows audience participation at appropriate times. The mayor sees to it that speakers limit their remarks to the item being considered and, as necessary, calls down people who are out of order.

Proper performance of these functions requires that the mayor know parliamentary procedure and how to apply it. The mayor must recognize that parliamentary procedure is a tool, not a bludgeon—that is used to ensure that the will of the majority prevails while the right of the minority to be heard is protected.

Presiding effectively at a council meeting is an art that no book can fully teach. The tactful presiding officer knows how to courteously discourage councilmembers who talk too much or too often, and how to encourage shy councilmembers who are hesitant to speak at all.

After attending the most recent City Council meeting, one thing became very clear. “A chairperson must be fair, impartial and lead by example while displaying respect for their colleagues and the public. This mayor does neither and thus is the result of a dysfunctional Hardy city council.”