I’ve been doing a little more research into what happened in last night’s Syracuse City Council Meeting with regard to the selection and appointment of Larry Shingleton as the new Interim City Councilmember.
First, the Mayor abstained from breaking the tie vote to select Commission Robert Whiteley. According to Syracuse City Municipal Code, Title I, Officers, Mayor (1-8-2), one of the Mayor’s roles is:
PRESIDING OFFICER OF COUNCIL. The Mayor shall preside at all meetings of the City Council, but shall not vote except in case of a tie when he shall give the casting vote. He shall from time to time give the Council information concerning the affairs of the City and shall recommend for their consideration such measures as he may deem expedient. The Mayor may call a special meeting of the City Council by giving notice of it to each of the members of the Council, served personally or left at his usual place of abode. (1971)
Let’s review part of that, the Mayor “… shall not vote [in City Council Meetings] except in case of a tie…” which is the condition we found ourselves in last night.
Further, “… except in case of a tie when he shall give the casting vote.” That didn’t say “may” that said “shall” which in legal mumbo jumbo (according to A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage as cited at Life in Translation) means means “has a duty to.” Because the Mayor failed to cast the tie-breaking vote he failed in his codified duty as Mayor in this instance.
Someone made the comment “you have to” to which the the City Attorney said, in effect, “he may vote, but nothing requires him to do so.” Is the City Attorney really that unfamiliar with Syracuse City Law?
Second, the Mayor later did cast the tie-breaking vote for Larry Shingleton, was part of a group of people who sued the City Council in attempt to overturn the Change of Government they had previously passed without public input (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4188/is_/ai_n18639987).
Mr. Shingleton, though his actions on contrary to the City Council was effectively “on the side of” the Mayor and though his efforts eventually caused the City Council’s changes to be enjoined and eventually overturned by election. In this regard it’s not a far stretch to say that the Mayor owes Mr. Shingleton a great debt for being allow to keep his title of CEO.
Under Syracuse City Municipal Code, Title I, Officers (1-7-12):
OFFICERS NOT BE INTERESTED IN CONTRACTS OR ACCEPT FAVORS. No officer of the City shall be directly or indirectly interested in any contract, work, or business, or in the sale of any article, the expense, price,or consideration of which is paid from the City Treasury or in any other consideration or favor as provided by Section 10-6-38 of the Utah Code Annotated, 1953. (1971)
Though Mr. Shingleton was not a member of the City Council when the Mayor extended his “other consideration or favor,” the Mayor should have recused himself from this vote, if not under this ordinance, under the ethical consideration of a conflict of interest.