That’s the headline on a story in this weeks Chronicle of Mt. Juliet (which can be read online by clicking on the link).
It’s actually far more serious than just an attempt to move the deliberations of the City Commission to an inconvenient location. The clear intent of the Tennessee Open Meetings Law is to insure that the business of the city commission is conducted in public. And it is clear that moving a 2-day meeting to a remote location out of the city is for the express purpose of being able to conduct city commission business out of the view of the public.
Compounding the deliberate insult to Mt. Juliet citizens was the way in which the mayor attempted to make this change – by adding it to the agenda for Monday night’s meeting even though there had been no advance notice that the item would be discussed. Apparently the mayor failed to submit her agenda item in time to make the agenda.
The mayor, of course, does not take lightly anything that thwarts her desires. Rules are for other people. She attempted to add it to the agenda anyway. This requires a suspension of the rules, which needs a 2/3 vote according to Robert’s. In Mt. Juliet that means a vote of at least four of the five commissioners. Hagerty and Bradshaw both objected.
The mayor then attempted to violate Robert’s Rules, by over-ruling the objections of the two commissioners and announced that her item was on the agenda. This occurred AFTER the city attorney pointed out to the entire commission that placing the item on the agenda required a suspension of the rules and that a suspension of the rules required four votes.
After announcing her unilateral, red queen ruling, Commissioner Bradshaw requested an opportunity to speak. The mayor refused to allow Commissioner Bradshaw to speak on the matter.
The real howler in all of this is that the mayor believes the public wants her to serve in the state legislature, in order to continue to provide a “conservative, Republican” voice from the 57th district.
She’s neither a conservative, nor a Republican.
In spite of being a lawyer, she either doesn’t understand the city charter, or Robert’s Rules – or she believes that she can dispense with either whenever it suits her fancy.