What is Wrong with Our City of Madison Common Council

Posted February 26th, 2014 @ 8:15 AM by

RANT AHEAD! (Don’t worry, its thoughtful as I can be after sitting through 7 hours of meetings with them and listening to them justify why they should just now, start discussing amendments on the most expensive decision the City has ever made.) The meeting went for two more hours . . . I didn’t watch the rest

A few things came to mind tonight while sitting through 7 hours of meetings. Here’s what is wrong:

1. They hold important meetings during the day or before people can get to them. Most recent example is the TIF meetings. Only the paid lobbyists can make the meetings.

2. They send out meeting notices late – sometimes barely 24 or 48 hours before the meetings begin.

3. They don’t link materials in legistar and only bring enough copies for members of the committees so the public can’t have copies. (More of a county board trick, they have absolutely no attachments except at Personnel and Finance)

4. They start important discussions 7 hours after the meetings started and try to justify rushing things through with silly excuses.

5. They delay discussions on items the most public is there for to “get other items out of the way” thereby wearing everyone out so they go home.

6. They hand out 6 pages of amendments to Judge Doyle Square after the public is done speaking.

7. There is no agenda management, there were several big issues on one agenda tonight.

Tonight there were 20 or more people there to hear about Judge Doyle Square, by the time I left 7 hours later, there were 6.

1. 3 – 4 council members and the Mayor were all missing from the meeting tonight, but they plowed through TIF policy, Lamp House and Judge Doyle Square. That is the most people I have seen missing from a meeting in years.

2. Alders asked for 5 minute break after 7 hours and they were denied. (2 breaks were held earlier at 6:30 and 9:00, it was midnight)

3. Alders asked for time to consider TIF implications and they were belittled and their motives questioned.

4. Mark Clear tried to cut off debate by “moving the previous question”. He openly tried to limit debate and stop any potential amendments.

1. I’m all about Robert’s Rules and having elected officials have a basic level of competency, but why, oh why, does every council meeting end up wasting time discussing it time after time after time after time. It’s not that complicated for those who are involved to learn. And half the time they seem to get it wrong. Last night the voted on a motion to separate . . . sigh . . .

2. After all this discussion and confusion, there are several alders who get all tangled up in trying to figure out how to do things they forget what they are doing. We have alders who don’t know how to make a motion. Others who openly admit its too hard to make a motion.

How much time to they need to spend patting themselves on the back and thanking each other?

What do the alders care about? Why are they there? What are their goals and motivations? Do you know? I honestly don’t most of the time. Who is setting the agenda for the city? The Chamber of Commerce and downtown businesses, that’s who. Is our only goal as a city to make more in taxes so the businesses can get richer? And we might be able to get trickled on at some point?

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