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May 3, 2012

C.Kennedy: Sneak

by at 10:49 pm.

Go to 1:14:50, please.

I’m not sure what the hell C.Kennedy thinks he is doing? Does he fancy himself an extraordinary Parlimentarian? Or, is he just being a gremlin, determined to muck up the proceedings?

Clearly,
- The vote was on C. Lorrey’s original motion. C.Mercier called for a Roll Call vote. She even clarifies it prior to the vote, then seeks to suspend the rules after.
- When C.Kennedy calls for a Point of Order, the Chair tells him the vote was on the original motion. Undeterred, Kennedy snorts back that he seconded Mercier’s amendment.

That did not happen! As soon as Mercier stops stumbling through her suggested amendment, C.Lorrey objected, then he proceeded to explain why he worded his motion in the way that he did. At no point did the Chair recognize a second to Mercier’s motion.

Yet, in the heat of the moment, C.Kennedy railroads the Council into accepting his version of reality.

The Council moved on in the agenda, but C. Mendonca pulled it back, seeking to change his vote to “Nay” because he didn’t want to approve of something he didn’t know the cost of. C.Elliott jumps back in to quibble with the CM. At 1:23:30, C. Kennedy calls another Point of Order, playing ad hoc Chair from the floor.

Councilor Kennedy needs to be checked, put in his place. He is pushing the envelope with his attempts to Chair the meetings from the floor. This is the second time, recently, that an angry vote was taken and the Council was confused as to what they just did. The vote on C.Elliott’s motion to tie the CM’s hands on revenue was a mess, as well. The Mayor and the Clerk need to get a handle on this, ASAP.

Here are some reference’s for the less slick:

GAINING THE FLOOR

RULE 16
Every Councillor, when about to speak, shall respectfully address the chair, and wait till he or she is recognized.

RULES OF DEBATE

RULE 17
Upon all debatable matters, no councillor may speak more than twice or more than five minutes at any one time, however, this shall not apply to the questioning of the City Manager, Department Heads or to persons appearing before the City Council.

RULE 18
Nothing in Rule 17 shall prevent any councillor at any time, from interrupting another for the purpose of a motion of personal privilege, or points of order.

DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS

RULE 19
Any member of the City Council who refuses to maintain order and decorum as provided by these rules, or otherwise, at a meeting of the City Council, conducts himself or herself in a manner unbecoming a member of the City Council, shall be subject to such discipline, including the exaction of an apology or expulsion from the City Council Chamber for the balance of the meeting, as the majority of those present shall deem just and proper.

MOTIONS AND THEIR WITHDRAWALS

RULE 20
All motions or other proposals shall be duly seconded.
A motion may be withdrawn by its maker before it has been stated by the chair.
A motion, which has been stated by the chair, may be withdrawn provided no one objects.
If there is objection to the withdrawal of a question, any Councillor may move to grant withdrawal.

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief.

Question 8:
How do you deal with a “friendly amendment”?

Answer:
On occasion, while a motion is being debated, someone will get up and offer what he or she terms a “friendly amendment” to the motion, the maker of the original motion will “accept” the amendment, and the chair will treat the motion as amended. This is wrong. Once a motion has been stated by the chair, it is no longer the property of the mover, but of the assembly. Any amendment, “friendly” or otherwise, must be adopted by the full body, either by a vote or by unanimous consent.

If it appears to the chair that an amendment (or any other motion) is uncontroversial, it is proper for the chair to ask if there is “any objection” to adopting the amendment. If no objection is made, the chair may declare the amendment adopted. If even one member objects, however, the amendment is subject to debate and vote like any other, regardless of whether its proposer calls it “friendly” and regardless of whether the maker of the original motion endorses its adoption.

9 Responses to “C.Kennedy: Sneak”

  1. Mimi Says:

    Jack:
    I think this is a timely post. CC Kennedy is a disappointment to me. I thought with his experience he would set the example as to how to discuss issues by providing guidance and perspective to the rest of the Council; in the fashion of the late CC Armand Mercier. Instead, I see him as creating confusion. To what end, I am not sure.

    As far as being checked, I think his colleagues did that to him last week when he presented his motion (Request Mayor create and Ad-Hoc Subcommittee regarding the selling of municipal lien bundles.) “They said “What? You want to set up an ad-hoc committee, and you want to chair to get involved in implementing policy. We don’t think so.”

  2. Gerry Nutter Says:

    Jack, Listen carefully at the 1:17 point in the meeting and you hear Councilor Kennedy say 2nd just as Councilor Mercier is finishing..however you are correct the Mayor did not recorgnize that and Councilor Mercier’s motion was indeed to vote on Councilor Lorrey’s motion.

    Your bigger point and one that I agree needs to be addressed is The Mayor and the Clerk need to get a handle on this!

    You have an inexperienced Mayor and a new clerk and the meetings are a circus because of this. I expected better from the Mayor.

  3. Jack Says:

    I hear the word “seconded,” but it is immediately after Mercier called for a Roll Call vote on the original motion by Lorrey.

    Every first time Mayor has a learning curve. Mayor Murphy’s curve is exacerbated by his peers disregarding decorum and Council Rules. It’s unfortunate, as Mimi highlights, that C.Kennedy isn’t bringing his experience to bear in a constructive way.

    I certainly think the Clerk could lend a hand by witnessing the flow and not trying to reconstruct “the scene of the accident” based upon the accepted error. That will be hard for the Clerk, as setting the record straight will likely put him at odds with Councilors hedging the rules.

    Further, it should be noted, should the Mayor opt to use the Gavel, he will be crucified in the Court of Nattering Nabobs. See “Boo Birds” or “BOR”

  4. Lowell Resident Says:

    I think if the Mayor is disappointing Gerry Nutter, then he must be doing something right!

  5. Joe S. Says:

    It is pretty clear that the intent of councilor Mercier was to address her substitute after the roll-call on councilor Lorrey’s motion.

    When the “second” was made it was after councilor Mercier agreed to the vote on the original motion.

    Unfortunately, the clerk agreed with councilor Kennedy about his second, and that stood.

    I think they need to institute video replay for the council meetings.

  6. Publius Says:

    Points of order must be made immediately after the infraction is made. Therefore C. Kennedy was acting appropriately making the point of order.

  7. ax41 Says:

    The underlying and undisputed principle here is that a motion may not be voted on while there are pending motions to amend.C. Mercier certainly seemed to offer an amendment and C. Kennedy clearly thought he seconded it .
    C. Kennedy raised a point of order when the Mayor declared that the motion ( and not the amendment ) had been voted on .The Presiding Officer is to make a ruling on that point of order ; the decision of the Chair can be appealed by any Councillor ( if there is a second ) to the full body .
    How is following that procedure sneaky or playing Chair from the floor?
    Put another way , what other steps could C. Kennedy have taken under the circumstances that would be more acceptable to you ?

  8. Jack Says:

    Ax41,
    As soon as C.Mercier stopped speaking, C.Lorrey objected and spoke to clearify his intent. C.Mercier conceded, asking for a roll call vote on the original motion. Maybe, as you suggest (C. Kennedy clearly thought he seconded it), C.Kennedy was lost in the proceedings.

    Both of Kennedy’s Points of Order resulted in an error that fit C.Kennedy’s preference. Lucky? Sneaky? I’m giving C.Kennedy a modicum of respect by assuming he can render an outcome.

    The first Point of Order was corrected by the Chair. However, when Kennedy pushed, the Chair let it slide. The second Point of Order was a statement of how “irregular” it was that a Councilor would change a vote after the motion was settled. He continued lecturing his peers after the ruse of a Point of Order had exhausted itself.

    It could be that C.Kennedy is deploying procedural tactics that were sharpened prior to video archives being available to the public. The City would be well served, if he were to take a modern approach to the City’s business.

  9. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    I think Gerry is correct in the sense that there is an inexperienced mayor and a brand new clerk. In the past the clerk has guided the new mayors through the process but in this case the learning curve is steep and I believe there are a number of councilors who are enjoying making Murphy and Geary sweat.

    If Mayor Murphy is reading this my advice is do not be rushed and to stop the proceedings if you are not 100% clear of what is happeneing and get control of the situation. Also clearly state what it is the council is voting on when there are substitute motions being thrown around. Otherwise it is going to be a very long two years for you.

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