Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wondering how many votes were needed

Today's Valley News Dispatch had the story about the ouster of Council President Magnetta at last night's meeting. According to the story, the vote was 4-3, and I wonder whether that was a sufficient vote to accomplish what the majority intended.

Mr. Magnetta had been elected Council President by vote of the Council on January 3, 2006. As far as I know, no one has challenged the validity of that election. Can the Council change its mind about which member should be its President? Absolutely. But it is my opinion that such an action is in the nature of a motion to amend something previously adopted.

This may seem like a minor parliamentary point, but under Robert's Rules of Order a motion to amend something previously adopted requires a simple majority vote with notice, or a 2/3 vote without notice.

Why does this matter? The agenda for the meeting did not give notice that the Council would vote on "ousting" its President. Only four members of the Council knew that such a motion might be made at that meeting. The other three were taken by surprise, as was the public.

If the council members who wanted to accomplish the removal of their President had been willing to let it be known in advance that such a motion would be made, four votes would have been sufficient.

On the other hand, if a 2/3 vote was required to remove an officer without notice, then the motion should have been declared to have failed under the circumstances in which it was made and voted. A 2/3 vote of seven council members should have required five votes to pass.

This is just another consequence of trying to govern by secrecy and surprise.

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor, I give you a lot of credit. You really do your homework. What they did to Carl was absolutely typical for this council. They are so sneaky. It is the worst mistake for this town. Poor poor Tarentum. Oh how it will suffer. Carl worked endless hours on things at the borough that people will never know about. He was elected 2 to 1 vote all over town and won in every ward including his opponent’s home ward. This tells me someone wants the man to serve the people. Someone likes him. What is wrong with this council? They always go around town saying “we have to get Carl out, he has too much POWER” well good luck with all of your power. You have to remember everyone that is elected should be grown up enough to make choices for themselves and not listen to the lies of others. Council is there to work for the people not themselves. I am tired of me me me and I I I . Maybe the” select” need to take your advice Pastor.

Stewart said...

Dear anonymous, thanks for the credit. My advice to the council is simply that they should do the borough's business in an open and above-board manner, whoever is the president.

If the complaint is that a particular office carries too much power, changing the person in that office will not solve the alleged problem.

Anonymous said...

Like. Violent. Toddlers.

Anonymous said...

well that is sad too remove magnetta in such a way. but isnt it weird that newcomer that is now the new president her son is a police officer for tarentum hmmmmmm is that a quinki dink? sometimes i wonder if its who you know and not what you know in town

Stewart said...

To the anonymous commenter who posted at 5:03 PM today:

I would not make too much of the fact that a council member is related to a borough employee. Tarentum is a small town, and I'd guess that most if not all of the council members are related to someone doing something else for the borough. Nothing sinister there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a shame the way this happened. I didn't think you were allowed to bring a weapon to the meeting. Seems that the so-called backstabbers did just that. You know what's next? This is Miss Gingers' way of getting to be Prsident of council, because Mary Newcomer can not do the job. This was just a ploy on Gingers' part. If the people only knew how she used people and she continues to do so. How can someone get away with sooo much and still manipulate people.

You Don't Get it said...

The fact that any of you anonymous posters can come on here and sincerely pontificate about who is right and who is wrong in the eye-roll-inducing soap opera that Tarentum government suggests that YOU DON'T GET IT.

Hel-lo. We're talking about borough council in a town of 5,000 people.

You want to hiss and whisper and play games about whose the boss of it? Who has... wait, I need to read that again... "too much power?"

Tarentum Council shouldn't be a power trip or an ego boost. It should be the public service of seven people willing to sit down every month to make sure the bills get paid, the streets get paved and the potholes get filled.

The fact that there are two feuding factions carrying petty political grudges against each other should EMBARASS YOU. BECAUSE IT IS INFANTILE.

Yeesh.

Stewart said...

To the anonymous commenter who posted at 10:07 last night:

Do you have any actual evidence of this "ploy", or is this just your speculation about what you imagine to be a possibility?

To you don't get it:

Thanks for the insights. The longer I look at the "eye-roll-inducing soap opera", the more I come to doubt that there actually are two factions.

I cannot recognize two competing visions of what ought to be happening in Tarentum. I do see a highly energized feud between two council members with constantly shifting coalitions around them.

But where is the energy for public service?

Anonymous said...

To the so called " You don't get it" You are exactly right. Tarentum council is not a soap opera. It is a business that should be ran with pride, but the bills are paid every month and pot holes are filled. There are more than just 2 feuding factors on this council, don't believe the paper. Come see for yourself. Some of council don't know how to serve the people they just worry about who is in what seat, not what is getting done for the community. See, you don't get it. It is a team.

Xxelda said...

To; You Don't get it:

Way too much government for this town. Yes their main focus should be what's best for the residents and the Boro. However, when personal grudges get in the way, and you have one person capable of manipulating others, it is impossible to conduct business in a professional manner or in a manner that is in the best interest of the Boro. High school, childish games. We just had a major election and you can obviously see who was re-elected into office again and again.What this council did, or a few members just did, violated our rights in so many ways it was almost comical. And nobody called them on it. Ginger said 'not personal', Mary said 'personal'. Which is it? You cannot call an executive meeting for personal reasons. The public should have been given the opportunity to comment on this issue and should have been informed that the meeting would reconvene after the closed-door session. So,in essence, what these four members did was no better than what they have been accusing everyone else of: back-door, closed-door politicing.
Does this mean that in the future that if a resident has a concern or compliant that it will only be addressed behind closed doors and based on whether or not they are liked by the council reps? Is there now a tally sheet to see who scores more points based on personality rather than accomplishment?

One Anonymous stated it was a'ploy' by "Miss Ginger" to gain control or become council president. Okay, that comment was not far off the mark. However, do you really think that when all is said and done that this will happen? I believe your personal life is also under scrutiny when you are an elected official. Lip service will only get you so far. As for Mary being president, this blows me away. It's laughable and somewhat scarey. But, maybe in time she will learn to keep her so-called fiends at a reasonable distance before she becomes another casuality. If it's not too late. The other two who voted, well I just wonder what promises were made to secure those votes. Puppets. She commented that she will have no more fighting amongst the council members. I hope she is coming with a magic wand and is able to cast spells over these people at their meetings. As far as I could see, it took a lot for Carl not to get roped into arguments by certain council members at these meetings. If they are all so gung-ho on cleaning up this town they should start cleaning their own house first. I say it's time to start throwing out the trash, or at least voting out the trash.

What happened last week was sneaky and underhanded. They cowered behind closed doors like cowards and definetly showed their true colors. If they are doing this, what else is going on behind those closed doors? Maybe it's time for a watch dog committee.

Embarassed? You bet. Disgusted? You bet.

sonnysarver said...

Notice - There is a special council meeting that was not put in the paper. Monday.

Anonymous said...

Writers have stated that there has been two faxtors that have disrupted meetings.

As I see it and I attend all the coucil meetings someone is writing this that does not attend the meetings. Period!

When a certain member of council has not been in attendance the meetings have run very smoothly.
But, when she is there, with her intent to agitate others that are on council, it then becomes very annoying and nonproductive.

These parties should attend the school board meetings. When I've attended, it has been A FREE FOR ALL. Now that's what you would call out of hand.

Citizens and taxpayers of Tarentum Borough, take part in your council meetings. See where your tax dollars are being spent. Mr. Magnetta brought the auditor in to explain their need to tighten the belts on spending, but it fell on deaf ears.

In my years as a concerned citizen I've witnessed many many arguements mostly between Mike Gutonski and Ginger Sopcak.

Thank you Pastor . Keep up the good work.