By: Lydia Crawley
The Parsons Advocate
A motion by Parsons City Councilman Tim Turner created a disagreement over a point of order at the Parsons City Council meeting. Following an amendment during approval of the agenda in which he added three items, Turner attempted to make his motion during what was on the written agenda as a discussion item of “Discuss changes to committee assignments – Councilman Timothy Turner.”
“I’d like to make a motion to add to the Benefit of the Citizens of Parsons, add Missy Jones to replace Dave Greenlief and myself to replace Bruce Kolsun,” Turner said.
Acting Mayor Bruce Kolsun called a point of order on the motion due to the listing on the agenda as a discussion item. “It’s under discuss,” Kolsun said. “You can’t make a motion. Under the agenda it says discuss.”
Turner said he had attempted to adjust the agenda item previously in the meeting. During approval of the agenda early in the meeting, Turner had stated he wanted to add some items. “And I said that I was going to make a motion and you said, and Tim Auvil said, its already on the agenda,” Turner said.
Kolsun reiterated that the item was a discussion only agenda item. “It’s on the agenda as discuss. We’re just going to discuss this,” Kolsun said.
Council Member Melissa Jones explained why she thought the motion was made. “And the reason I think it is to remove you is because the Mayor can’t have a say, correct?” Jones said. “From Benefit of Citizens? She has no say in the Benefit of Citizens. Because she doesn’t have any vote.”
Council Member Tim Auvil explained the role of the committee and its position on votes. “There’s no vote, technically, to approve the list,” Auvil said. “It’s just a recommendation to present to council. Council approves the list that the committee presents.”
Turner said little during the meeting and said he would put his motions on the agenda for the next City Council meeting. “I will put my motions on the next meeting,” Turner said.
Kolsun continued the discussion of the issue by asking about the changes proposed by Turner. “Can we discuss that,” Kolsun said. “Why are you making those changes? What’s the purpose of that?”
“We’ll put that on the next meeting as a motion,” Turner said.
“Can we discuss it?” Kolsun said. “It is on the agenda as a discussion.”
Auvil said he did not understand the issue with the committees. “I’m a council member, maybe I could make up a list for everybody that needs to be on the committees,” Auvil said. “I mean I don’t understand.”
“You could make it up but it would have to be approved,” Turner said.
Auvil said he questioned whether a council member should have the authority to assign committees. “But I don’t understand how a council member can have the authority to say who can be on what committee and who is going to get kicked off what committee?” Auvil said.
Kolsun said that responsibility has always fallen with the Mayor. “That is the Mayor’s responsibility. Always has been,” Kolsun said.
Turner clarified his proposed motion for the next meeting. “So, we will put on the agenda for next time a motion that council will compose the names of people for committees and then we will have a motion to change some people on committees,” Turner said.
Council Member Kathy DiBacco questioned how long it takes for someone to be assigned to a committee. “I know I keep getting told that I’m new here,” DiBacco said. “That’s why you don’t get on committees, but how long do you have to be here before you can get on committees?”
“You can get on committees,” Kolsun said.
“I mean committees that do something,” DiBacco said. “That’s what I’m saying.”
“You can make them do something,” Kolsun said. “I was on a committee that didn’t do anything as a rule, but then, we just did things. But that’s another story. I understand. We can make committees do things. It’s the three people on the committee that makes the committee do things or not do things. But that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
Kolsun said he had spoken to other council members about the timing of the assignments to committee in the past. “But as a rule, I have spoken to other council members about this, we don’t change committees midstream,” Kolsun said. “We do it when after an election because if I’m off and Tim’s off and everyone else is on, then the new person that comes in next July may never get on a committee. That’s why you do it on the days after an election.”
Kolsun said he would compromise on the issue and proposed a system that involved both the Mayor and the Council working together to compose lists of committee members. “I will make a proposal,” Kolsun said. “If I’m still the Mayor until next, or Acting Mayor, and I am picking committees, I want input. I’m going to go on a limb and say I’ll take input from anybody. So if you have a list of three people that want to be on whatever committee and you have a list of three people and you have a list of three people and Missy has a list and Tim has a list and we all have a lists of three people, then we’ll sit down and say, ok well, Tim’s really good on the Streets so we’ll keep him on there because he knows that and somebody else may be good on something else.”
Kolsun and Auvil said they knew that there was never a situation where everyone would be satisfied with the assignments. “I see value in what you do, too, but is that a problem if I were to agree to do that?” Kolsun said. “Rather than have a Councilperson say I want you on this committee and they want on the committee and we voted . Then nobody gets on the committee they want, maybe.”
“Somebody’s feelings are going to get hurt,” Auvil said.
“If we do it collectively,” Kolsun said, “and say, you give me your list, let’s get it done.”
Council Member James “Sam” Humphrey, Jr. asked if a consensus system was how the committee selection process has always been completed. “Is that how you’ve always done it, though?” Humphrey said.
“No,” Kolsun said. “No, the Mayor just picked them. I’m going out on a limb even to give that other stipulation and I’m ok with that. I feel real uncomfortable saying that one person picks a committee. I don’t think that’s fair…where’s the authority?”
Kolsun said that if committee members wished to step down and someone else wanted to take their place, arrangements could be made. “If say you say you want to be on the cemetery committee and somebody else doesn’t, we could work that out,” Kolsun said. “Ok, Dave doesn’t want to be on the Cemetery Committee anymore because Sam wants to be on it. We’ll put Sam on it, put Dave on something else. We could do it that way, too. But just to take people off because any councilperson says you’re off…It’s not coming on fair to anybody. We need to really, really think about this.”
Auvil asked Turner for clarification on his previous motion during the approval of the agenda. “So did you make a motion, Tim, to change the wording, not just discuss?” Auvil said.
“I’ll submit my motions before the next meeting,” Turner said. “For the agenda.”
“I’m not going to address it,” Turner said.
“We’re still discussing, sir,” Kolsun said.
“You’re still discussing,” Turner said. “I’m not. I will make my motions for next meeting.”
The next meeting of the City of Parsons City Council will be held on Tuesday, September 19th at 6 p.m. at the Charles W. “Bill” Rosenau Municipal Building at 341 Second Street in Parsons.