This motion appeared to have been previously discussed outside of the public meeting, and agreed upon by several and probably all of those who voted to remove the resolutions from the agenda. There were no questions or comments by any of those who voted for this shocking maneuver.
Never before has any member of Council sought to remove an item placed on the agenda by another member, nor has the majority ever suspended the rights of members to place issues on the Agenda, though last December Mr. Glickert and Mr. Sharpe attempted to change Council Rules proposing a Gag Rule to effectively muzzle some Councilmembers from raising issues of importance to constituents. The resolutions removed can be viewed here. Three of them involve the unfortunate and disappointing suspensions of six of our firefighters by the City Manager, one dealt with the involvement of the City Manager in the municipal election, one dealt with diversity and a non-hostile work environment, and the last was a Resolution (2014-19) reprimanding Councilmember Kraft for his use of an explicit profanity directed at a citizen who was addressing the council. Rule 24 of the Council Rules and Procedure allows for resolutions and/or ordinances to be placed on the agenda at the request of two members of Council. When those resolutions/items can be removed by other Councilmembers by amending the agenda prior to business being conducted, they are not on the Agenda. This majority of Council (Welsch, Glickert, Sharpe, Kraft and Jennings) has decided that they will not allow two members of Council to put anything on the agenda they do not want to discuss or vote upon.
Think of it: unless we have the majority of the votes/support among members of Council prior to the public meeting, those issues of importance to you will not be allowed on the agenda to be discussed. Polling votes outside of an open meeting is a violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law.
Nowhere in the Council Rules does it say that a bill or resolution proposed by two members may be removed from the agenda by the majority. When questioned about this, the Mayor stated that a majority can vote to remove other members items and that while not in Council Rules, this could be found in Robert’s Rules of Order.
Rule 5 of Council Rules specifies that we be guided by the current revision of Robert’s Rules of Order as our parliamentary authority. This handbook specifically states (in the 11th Edition) on p. 263,
“Rules contained in the bylaws [Council Rules, in this case] cannot be suspended - no matter how large the vote in favor of doing so or how inconvenient the rule in question may be - unless the Rule itself specifically provides for its own suspension.”
There is nothing in Council Rules that would provide for the suspension of the rule (Rule 24) that allows two members of the Council to place a resolution and/or an ordinance on the agenda.
Robert’s Rules of Order was never intended to remove or limit the rights of the minority to make a motion. We have a responsibility to represent our constituents, even if we are in the minority. Under Mayor Adams, there was never an attempt to limit the ability of any one Councilmember to bring issues to the Council. Under Mayor Welsch, the current rules require that two Councilmembers are required in order to place an item on the agenda. Now, however, Welsch, Glickert, Sharpe, Kraft and Jennings will even wrongfully suspend this rule in an effort to stifle discussion and avoid a vote on issues they wish would “go away.” By this action, this Council has indicated that it does not want to allow for the rights or voice of the minority - or dissent. This is a perversion of democracy.