Carmel City Council introduces procedural changes to be addressed in new year


The Carmel City Council introduced several potential ordinances Dec. 21 that deal with the procedure of council business. All of these items were tabled until 2016 without going to committee. The new council is expected to discuss the issues next month.

The items include:

  • A proposal to increase the number of days before a City Council meeting that the agenda will be posted for the public. Currently it’s two business days, but the proposal would increase this to six days. City Councilor Sue Finkam said this would allow business owners and other residents to have more time to rearrange their schedule and attend meetings. There were concerns from the outgoing city clerk-treasurer about how the time constraint would put a burden on the staff. With a new clerk-treasurer and several new councilors coming in 2016, Finkam wanted to revisit the idea.
  • An ordinance with language stating, “the Council President may choose to hold over an ordinance to the next regular or specially held council meeting, without sending said ordinance to a committee. If an objection to this action is made by a Council member, a majority vote of the membership of the Council is required to overrule the President’s action.” Councilors Eric Seidensticker and Rick Sharp said this is already part of Robert’s Rules of Order and part of council protocol and so they thought this would be unnecessary.
  • In that same ordinance, wording would be amended to allow for only a two-thirds vote needed to suspend the rules and act on an ordinance on first reading. Currently, it must be unanimous to act on an item on first reading, otherwise it would be sent to committee or tabled.
  • A proposal to eliminate the council’s four committees — Land Use, Annexation and Economic Development Committee; Utilities, Transportation and Public Safety Committee; Finance, Administration and Rules Committee; and Parks, Recreation and Arts Committee and replace them with two committees: Finance, Utilities and Rules Committee and Land Use and Special Studies Committee.
  • A proposal to allow the council to elect both a president and vice president. The president of the council would also be available to receive extra pay at the council’s discretion. Nobody could serve as council president two years in a row. Sharp, who served as council president seven times in 12 years, said he thinks extra pay isn’t necessary.