By Tom Travis
Monday night the city council took no action during a four-hour meeting on a 199-page agenda. The meeting ended with quorum being broken on the nine-member panel when two councilpersons were ejected and three others voluntarily left.
Nonetheless, Council President Monica Galloway (7th Ward) kept discussion going another hour despite the city attorney’s warning the meeting should not continue without a quorum present.
The agenda was emailed to the press in two parts packed with contracts and purchase orders needing council approval. The council did not discuss nor vote on the list of eighteen resolutions on the agenda. The resolutions intended to be discussed and voted on totaled millions of dollars.
Also on the agenda were three appointments to the Ethics and Accountability Board.
Trouble started during discussion of a Special Order that Councilperson Eric Mays (1st Ward) brought forward. Councilperson Kate Fields (4th Ward) attempted to get the floor to speak. In a back and forth with Council President Monica Galloway (7th Ward) and Fields, Galloway ruled Fields out of order and instructed the City Clerk to mute Fields’ phone. Fields was able to listen to the meeting but was ejected from participating.
Councilpersons Santino Guerra (3rd Ward), Allan Griggs (8th Ward) and Eva Worthing (9th Ward) protested the move by President Galloway.
During Grigg’s protest of Galloway’s decision to remove Fields there was a back and forth with Galloway and Griggs. Galloway warned Griggs once and ruled him out of order, and then removed him from the meeting.
Guerra was the first to announce he was removing himself from the meeting. Worthing followed Guerra and left the meeting.
Finally Councilperson Maurice Davis (2nd Ward) left the meeting by breaking quorum for the 5 out of 9 council members required to be present for a meeting.
Remaining in the meeting were Galloway (7th Ward), Eric Mays (1st Ward), Jerri Winfrey-Carter (5th Ward) and Herb Winfrey (6th Ward).
City Attorney Angela Wheeler, upon hearing that Galloway intended to continue the meeting by allowing the remaining council to hear from the public speakers, warned the council that they should adjourn the meeting and reschedule. But the council continued to meet for another hour as they listened to public speakers.
Wheeler warned the remaining council to not proceed with a scheduled required public hearing on a resolution about bias crime reporting.
Wheeler’s argument was that the purpose of a public hearing is for the council, all the council, to hear from the public and to allow the public comments to help the council in making their decision about issues of the public hearing.
Galloway continued on with the meeting and allowed members of the public to speak. As the public speakers came onto the telephone/video meeting, many expressed outrage at the council, some public speakers calling out both Galloway and Fields for their behavior in the meeting.
The City Council has rescheduled the meeting for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 24. The public and media may listen to the meeting online by live stream at www.youtube.com/user/spectacletv or through Start Meeting Solution by dialing (617) 944-8177.
Topping the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting is a Special Order from Councilperson Mays (1st Ward) requesting Mayor Sheldon Neeley to address the Council with regard to Flint City Code Sections 14-5 and 14-28 concerning a State of Emergency and Emergency Management.
EVM assistant editor and city beat reporter Tom Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.