Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Morning Thoughts

Last night was a debacle.

I had two meetings scheduled. The first, at 5:30, was the public works subcommittee meeting. This is a city council subcommittee, which means three council members (Jim, Dean and Craig) are on the committee. In addition, city staff from the public works department comes to present and answer questions. In this case, the public works folks were Jackie and Shane, the director.

I was running a little late, having relaxed a little too well after my regular workday, and ended up racing into the meeting room about a minute after the meeting should have started. To my surprise, the only people there were Jackie and Shane. After registering that I couldn't be late to a meeting of people that weren't there, I asked the usual reporter question of "wha...?" and was told that Dean was on vacation, but neither Jim nor Craig had given any indication they would miss the meeting.

Well, I pulled up my trusty iPad Mini and got Jim's phone number, since he's the mayor. However, being a reporter and not staff, I wasn't sure if I should be calling him. Shane, with a sigh, took over and made the call. Shane's phone was loud enough that both Jackie and I heard both sides of the conversation clearly. Jim had not put the meeting on his schedule... maybe he didn't get the e-mail, maybe he forgot... but he hadn't realized it was happening. Also, Jim had gotten calls from a couple of other council members, the council meeting might be sparsely attended.

So Jackie gleefully went home and Shane and I chatted about various projects, off the record. Then when I spotted Councilman Jason heading into the council chambers, I suggested we move to that room (we were in a conference room in the Law & Justice Center). Shane and I walked over and settled into our usual spots, chatted with Jason a bit... and people started arriving. First came the regulars, Larry and Don, who attend virtually every council meeting as citizens. Then some staff members, the city clerk, the city manager... Craig came in and I asked him why he'd missed the public works meeting. He also hadn't realized there was a meeting. In fact, he was certain the meeting was scheduled for the next council meeting night, two weeks away.

The Mayor came in (in our city, the mayor is just a councilman elected as the mayor by the other council members) and announced that it was possible there would not be a quorum. He'd heard from Deputy Mayor Theresa and Councilman Spencer, both called in sick. Dean was already known to be out of town. That's three of the seven missing for sure. Jim said Francisco would be late, if he showed, due to a parent/teacher conference. That's four of the seven missing... no quorum so no action could be taken.

So the three councilmen, Jason, Craig and Mayor Jim, sat in the council chairs until 6:30 p.m. when Jim called the meeting to order... then immediately adjourned it for lack of a quorum.

I spent an hour at the police station for no reason. Except to have a fun story to blog about this morning.

I immediately sent emails to the editor so he'd know what happened before the day started. Then I headed home for a relaxing evening. It was a very strange evening. A total debacle.