New Clark County council, same drama
The five-member Clark County council hasn’t even taken their seats at the dais yet, and there’s already drama.
This week’s agenda, as we reported over the weekend, includes an item that would repeal all eight of the resolutions Madore authored and, with Councilor Tom Mielke, approved on Dec. 22. Unsurprisingly, Madore took to his favorite platform, Facebook, to decry the new item over the weekend, saying it was not properly noticed, that it was not added to the agenda through a proper process and that Council Chair Marc Boldt had some shady hand in getting this on the agenda.
“The new Board Chair could not legally add the Repeal Everything Resolution to the agenda before taking office in January,” Madore wrote. “So how did that happen?”
This whole thing is undeniably problematic, so I’m going to try to tease some clarity out of this.
Acting County Manager Mark McCauley said he placed the item on the agenda after it was written by Bob Stevens, the deputy county manager. Don’t mistake that with either of them pushing an agenda: it’s typical for staff to write resolutions or reports. Boldt, Councilor Jeanne Stewart and Councilor Julie Olson all have an interest in seeing this come forward, McCauley said.
Under the county rules of practice, McCauley is well within his authority to place items on the agenda. The county rules of practice say ordinances, resolutions and staff reports may be placed on the consent agenda after review by the county manager.
Madore also claims that county council rules don’t give the chair authority to add agenda items without the approval of the majority of the board. Even ignoring the fact that Boldt didn’t add this item, nowhere do I see the rule Madore cites specified in the home rule charter or the county rules of practice. Furthermore, where was the approval for Madore’s eight resolutions on Dec. 22? That never happened.
Madore also raises issue with the notice granted for this resolution—it was available on the county website on Thursday, well within the required 24 hours—and claims Deputy Prosecutor Chris Horne advised him that his resolutions should be noticed in The Reflector. This doesn’t jive, though. The home rule charter specifies that resolutions are for the council to “express its opinion of items.” They do not have the force of law and do not require the same public notice that an ordinance does.
This issue came up in the days before the Dec. 22 meeting, when an additional “public meeting” was added to the long list of public hearings already on the agenda. It was not noticed in The Reflector. Horne explained to me at the time that resolutions don’t require the same public notice as ordinances. Again, the council is considering a resolution that will repeal eight resolutions. None of this actually requires a notice in The Reflector.
But none of that changes the fact that this stinks. Starting a new year off with this tone of what I’m calling “Governance by Sassy Resolution,” cannot possibly be productive to ending the divisiveness so many have criticized the council for in recent years.
I keep going back to what Stewart said during the last council meeting of the year before she abstained from voting on all the resolutions that day, when she warned against this very thing.
“To end the year with giving what a new council might come in feeling is they’re the cleanup crew is not the best, most productive way to start the new year with the full five-member panel,” she said.
We’ll see how far this snowball rolls down the hill tomorrow. The county council meeting starts at 6 p.m., and I, like always, will be tweeting it live.