Wednesday, April 22, 2009

City Council Meeting

Got there late (about 7:55) to last night's city council meeting so the place was pretty full, though nowise as full as it was for the vote on Saluki Way When I got there, Tommy Glisson was just leaving, apparently after some incident with his cell phone, and Sandy Litecky was finishing her comments to the council. focusing mainly on the perception of high crime rates in Carbondale and how they needed to be addressed.

The meeting then moved onto council comments before the vote and boy, was there a lot of hand wringing and "mea culpa"s from Mary Pohlman, Corene McDaniel and Lance Jack, Councilwoman McDaniel at one point eliciting a chorus of "No's" from the audience when she asked them if they wouldn't do the same thing in her position. A common refrain was that the city manager and staff are professionals, these are their proposals, and we're following their recommendations.

Joel Fritzler broke from the mold, offering a number of proposed cuts of his own, including eliminating trips by the mayor and city manager and cutting funding for events such as Splash Saturday and the yearly fireworks festival, as well as eliminating the proposed 3% funding increase for all social service organizations. Couldn't tell if the redness of the mayor's face was due to sunburn or Councilman Fritzler's proposals, but the mayor did respond in a civil tone justifying the travel, if not the event funding.

Stephen Haynes referred back to his vote on Saluki Way as well as his position on housing during his last campaign but it was hard to tell which way he leaned, though he did thank Fritzler for pointing out potential cuts in the budget and also asked how much the budget wold be out of balance if the Building and Neighborhood manager's position were restored.

The mayor, in closing remarks, also referred back to both Saluki Way, which he voted for, and the rental inspection fee, which he proposed (but then voted against, didn't mention that part in his comments), as examples of things he did that not everyone agreed with but he felt were in the best interests of the city. He then called the vote.

Jack, McDaniel, Mayor Cole and Chris Wissmann voted in favor of the budget, Fritzler, Haynes and Pohlman, against. Immediately after the vote, a good half the room left to go discuss things in the hallway. Fairly quickly, the council voted in favor of an ordinance adopting the pay plan for non-bargaining employees for next year and adjourned about 8:30.

A couple of interesting incidents after the meeting dismissed. A group in the hallway, including Charlie Fanning, D. Gorton and Jane Adams was discussing the meeting, when Lance Jack came up and started berating Fritzler's comments, to which Gorton took umbrage, telling jack to stop butting into other peoples conversations. Also saw Jack a bit later, outside city hall, the center of attention of a group of about 10 people. There were a few hugs among city staffers and quite a bit of head shaking.

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