Last night, I attempted to bring a new item to the voting meeting—an ordinance dealing with parking issues in the 3rd Ward near Cedar Brook Park. It was a simple, non-controversial ordinance to bring relief to our residents. There had been a delay with the ordinance because of some corrections, along with the need for a review by our new city attorney, as Mr. Minchello had resigned. I had sent the council president an email requesting it to be put on, and she said that it hadn’t been received in time, so it would have to wait. I responded to her that because of how long the residents had to wait for this issue to be resolved, it should go on as soon as possible, and that if the council would agree to add it, we could add it. As members of the governing body, city council members may bring items to the council meeting to be added to the agenda. It has been done from time to time, and Council President Rivers knows it. The council will vote either to put it on, or to not put it on. It is not for the council president to unilaterally decide what to put on, and she is certainly aware of that.
I reminded the council president that in our July meeting, the Housing Authority director showed up with a mere draft of the ordinance to illegally convey property to the Housing Authority of Plainfield (see A "Discussion" Becomes an "Ordinance!" and Got Ethics? Part Deux), and the council president took that draft—a mere draft—and she and some of her council colleagues voted to add it to the agenda right then! So, is the lesson that it is okay for some councilors to walk on items and vote to add them to the agenda, but it's not okay for me to do so? The inconsistency in treatment is certainly exposed for what it truly is. Further, the extremely rude way in which the council president addressed me all evening has been memorialized on camera and certainly noted by those in attendance. She continued to pound the gavel and interrupt me when I clearly had the floor—she was out of order. To attempt to speak over me was also out of order. Keep in mind: the council president’s duty is to preside over the meeting, not to silence members of the council whose words she does not like to hear.
Regarding the land grab ordinance, the corporation counsel raised a number of legal issues with it when we asked for a legal opinion. Remember that our previous Corporation Counsel, as well as the redevelopment attorney, Robert Renaud, also found illegalities with it. I called it an illegal ordinance and asked for it to be tabled. No one on the council has a law degree (myself included!) but these NON-lawyers decided to pass it anyway. I will write on some of the other issues that came up at the meeting in the near future.