Editorial by Joy Simha.
According to Roberts Rules of Order an error was made on Wednesday, October 28th with regard to your agenda of that town council meeting. A consent agenda is for items that require no discussion by any one council member. Since Councilwoman Amy Martin asked for discussion of item number 7, it should have been pulled out of the consent agenda and discussed. It required no second to do so according to your own description in the agenda. Therefore, you should not send it to the ethics committee until it can be discussed outside of the consent agenda. Your error caused Councilwoman Martin to vote a blanket no to other routine items on the consent agenda, where she may have only voted no on Item number 7.
“At every board meeting, at least a few items come to the agenda that do not need any discussion or debate either because they are routine procedures or are already unanimous consent. A consent agenda (Roberts Rules of Order calls it a consent calendar) allows the board to approve all these items together without discussion or individual motions. Depending upon the organization, this can free up anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour for more substantial discussion..
What belongs on the consent agenda?
Typical consent agenda items are routine, procedural decisions, and decisions that are likely to be noncontroversial. Examples include:
- Approval of the minutes;
- Final approval of proposals or reports that the board has been dealing with for some time and all members are familiar with the implications;
- Routine matters such as appointments to committees;
- Staff appointments requiring board confirmation;
- Reports provided for information only;
- Correspondence requiring no action.”
Under your own description on the agenda: All items listed are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Borough Council and will be approved by one motion. There will be no separate discussion on these items unless a Council member(s) so request it, in which case the item(s) will be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered in its normal sequence on the agenda. The one motion signifies adoption of all resolutions, received and filed letters, correspondence, reports and approval of applications and minutes.
Councilwoman Amy Martin requested an amendment to pull out and have a separate discussion of Item # 7 and you did not follow proper Roberts Rules of Order and pull that item out for a separate vote. In doing so, you ignored due process and assumed that Councilwoman Martin could not have convinced the rest of you to vote differently.
I implore you to do the right thing and bring this back to the town council meeting and give Councilwoman Martin the proper due process.
I know the Mayor and Council will do the right thing.