Council revisits rules of conduct for meetings

Order in Council Chambers and rights of Brady citizens to voice their opinions during meetings were both addressed in Tuesday night’s meeting when the first reading of Ordinance 863 amending Ordinance 812 regulating rules of procedures, conduct and decorum at City Council meetings was placed on the table. Several audience members questioned whether the proposed changes and additions to the ordinance were in violation of the open meeting rights act. Changes to Section 7 of the ordinance reads: Discussion shall be addressed to the mayor. Discussion shall be directed solely to the business currently under deliberation and the mayor shall halt discussion that does not apply to the business before the Council. The mayor shall also halt discussion if the Council has agreed to a time limitation for discussion of an item and that time limit has expired. Aside from these limitations the mayor shall not interfere with debate so long as members wish to address themselves to an item under consideration. Audience participation at a Council meeting is limited to the portion of the meeting designated for that purpose. At all other times during a meeting, the audience shall not enter into discussion or debate on matters being considered by the Council unless recognized by the mayor. No presentation shall exceed five minutes. Delegations of more than five persons shall appoint one person to present their views before the Council. A new section added to the ordinance, Ordinance No. 13 reads: It is a criminal offense for a person with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting to substantially obstruct or interfere with a meeting by physical action or verbal attempts. Penal code 42.05. In a firm rebuttal, audience member Bill Ricks said, “I recommend that the Council acknowledge that it is a criminal offense for any member of the Council to violate the open meeting rights act.” Gayla Bowen addressed the Council and asked if the proposed amendment to the ordinance violates Section 3.12 of the City Charter. Section 3.12 states that the Council shall by ordinance determine its own rules and order of business except that citizens of the City shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at any meeting in regard to any matter. According to Mrs. Bowen, a similar amendment was brought before the City Council in 1998 and 1999 but were both tabled because the Council at that time felt it was in violation of Section 3.12. Although the amendment drew lengthy concerns and questions, the Council unanimously voted to approve the item on its first reading. Moving on to the action items, the Council approved the bid submitted by Billy Smith for Brady Lake concessions. The Council voided the previous contract with the prior concessions maintainer due to insufficient insurance coverage. The bid submitted was for $475 per month for the marina and camp grounds. The bid will be accepted pending the approval of an insurance policy. Another bid on the agenda was for a landfill scale and its installation at the city landfill. City Interim Manager Merle Taylor contacted three companies requesting bids; however, none of the companies submitted any to City Hall. The item was tabled until a later date. Reece Albert Construction Company, Inc. was approved to complete the repaving of the alleys at the 100 block of East Commerce and the 300 block of West Commerce. The Council approved the bid submitted by Water Haven over Jordan Ice Company for bagged ice. The bids were evaluated based on the price per pound. Water Haven’s bid was 7′ per pound. It was the tie-breaker decision made by City Mayor Clarence Friar that won the approval of a $51,700 utility auger truck from Commercial Body Corporation. The 1991 model was the only truck found that meets the city’s specifications. Contingent on a 30-day trial period, the utility truck will be financed through Commercial National Bank along with the new fire truck recently approved by the Council. Because the truck is almost 10 years old, Councilmen Jesse McAnally and Donald Barley voted against purchasing the truck. A new truck decked with the same specifications would run the city $120,000. “I’d like to save that $70,000 if we can,” said Friar when making the decision to vote for the item. In other business, the bid submitted by Joe Moore for $33,055 for repairs to the sewer line that crosses Brady Creek near Richards Park was unanimously approved by the Council. The line was damaged in November when large amounts of rainfall filled the creek and caused a considerable amount of damage to Brady, McCulloch County and surrounding areas. Rather than suspended above Brady Creek like the previous one, the new line will be buried underground, leaving none of the sewer line exposed. The second item tabled on Tuesday called for an amendment to the City of Brady Personnel Policy. Councilman McAnally recommended that the item be tabled because he was unaware of whether or not the item conflicts with portions of the City Charter. Brought to the agenda yearly, the Council adopted the City of Brady Investment Policy and authorized the investment committee to continue to hold the City’s Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (CMO) until it matures rather than sell it on today’s market and risk taking a loss. In another action item presented to the Council by Scott Poehlmann of Austin, the Council approved the proposal to host an aerobatics competition at Curtis Field Airport. The aviation event will consist of 25-35 trained pilots who practice aerobatics. Scheduled from March 29-April 1, the three day competition will be a judged event that is not necessarily classified as an organized air show; however, “spectators are certainly welcome,” said Mr. Poehlmann. In the last action item on the agenda, the Council approved the 2001-2002 tourist and convention bureau budget for the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce. When addressing the Council, Chamber executive vice president DeLaine Poe highlighted future events planned for Brady and McCulloch County including a car show and a big game hunting extravaganza. “We would like to draw more emphasis to the hunting industry in Brady and would like to become a member of the Hill Country Lighting Trail,” said Mrs. Poe. Mrs. Poe also discussed with the Council the possibility of the Chamber having more hands-on promotion with the rodeo and the G. Rollie White Complex.

Leave a Comment