By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE — Three city councilors walked out of Wednesday’s meeting after acting on only one item — citing disagreements with the corporation counsel — bringing an end to the meeting because of a lack of a quorum.
It was the second council meeting cancelled since July 3 because a quorum was not present, making it five weeks since the council last conducted business.
Among the disagreements is an attempt by the city attorney to impose a gag order on city employees preventing them from addressing the media without permission.
Wednesday’s meeting came to order with all six councilors and the mayor present, but before they could get to their second item of business, a motion was made to adjourn the meeting.
The motion, made by Councilman Wheeler Marsee, was voted on and denied when Mayor Stacy Striz broke a 3-3 tie. The three councilors — Marsee, Carl Louvet and Nicole Barnes — who supported the adjournment, excused themselves from the meeting for “reasons mentioned at prior meetings.”
The only item heard by the full council was a financial report given to the council by Plante Moran. The report said the city is in compliance with its deficit elimination plan in 2012 after reducing its expenditures by $132,000. In order for the city to stay in compliance with the plan, the report said, the city needs to reduce expenditures by another $440,000 in 2013.
The report showed the problem areas for the city were the expenditures in the district court and rising water rates not being levied to residents.
The remaining council stayed to address any agenda items that did not require a vote, and the mayor issued executive orders on a substitute electrical/building inspector and the road closure for the Melvindale Street Fair.
Residents and officials said the actions of the three councilors were “atrocious” because “business needs to be conducted.”
“I did not expect this to happen.” Striz said in response to the concerns about the walk out. “To be honest, I found out about it 90 seconds before the meeting. I just didn’t want to turn the residents away from this meeting. We are going on five weeks, now, of not being able to vote on anything.”
(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at [email protected])
The Melvindale City Council has not conducted official business for five weeks because they could not keep a quorum during the August 7 meeting.
While the meeting was not adjourned by the council, this is the second consecutive meeting the council could not vote on the items placed on the agenda. The previous council meeting, held on July 17, was cancelled because a quorum was not present to begin the meeting; making the last official city council meeting was July 3.