SY08 Precinct Officer Who Called Out Syracuse City Council Makes the Paper

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Recently the Standard-Examiner ran a story about our very own SY08 Precinct Vice Chair, Joe Levi.

Though they got his name wrong (“Lebi”), they recounted (fairly accurately) some of the points Mr. Levi addressed when he spoke to the Syracuse City Council at a recent Council Meeting regarding their alleged violation of Utah Law (10-3-606).

He claims the City Council hasn’t “adopt[ed] rules of order and procedure to govern a public meeting of the legislative body” and don’t “conduct [their] public meeting[s] in accordance” to those rules — since they don’t exist.

How does he know they don’t exist?

He asked Councilman Doug Peterson some weeks ago. His response was reportedly “we don’t follow rules, we don’t have to — we run our meetings however we want”.

This lead Mr. Levi to do some research wherein he found that City Councils “shall adopt rules of order and procedure” and they must “make the rules of order and procedure available to the public […] at each meeting”.

Before the the start of the City Council meeting, Mr. Levi asked the City Recorder for a copy of the rules. “What rules?” she asked. “The rules of order and procedure” by which this meeting will be conducted,” was Mr. Levi’s response. Her reply was shocking, “We don’t have any.” After the meeting she apologized and said she didn’t understand the request, and that the “rules” were all included in City Ordinance. The ordinance she was referring to? Syracuse Code 2.02.110 Rules of Order and Procedure:

“In general, the City Council refers to Robert’s Rules of Order as a guide for the conduct of its business.”

That’s it, that’s the entire set of rules, according to the City Recorder and comments made by the Mayor.

Mr. Levi doesn’t recall a single time that the City Council has “referred to Robert’s Rules of Order as a guide”, in fact, comments by the Mayor indicate that not only does she not run the meetings with any regard to Robert’s Rules of Order, but that if she did they “could be used to hijack the meeting”.

Ironically, earlier in the same meeting, Councilman Shingleton made a motion to go back to the former agenda item to allow a resident to speak who hadn’t made it to the microphone in time. When Shinglton pressed the issue saying “Mayor, I’ve made a motion” and thrower his hands up in the air, the Mayor, looking upset, responded “This is MY meeting! I’ll run it how I want!”

Apparently ~that~ is the rule, ~that~ is the procedure.

What’s more, during the Mayor’s “report” at the end of the meeting, she talked about how establishing a set of rules is on their “list of priorities” and “has been for years”, and that they (the City Council) just needs to “sit down and do it”… yet her statement implied that they have not adopted said rules and are conducting their meetings in violation of State Law.

(Thanks to Zohner, who attended the City Council meeting, for sharing this with us!)

See also: Standard-Examiner: Syracuse accused of poor meeting procedure

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