Councilmember Solomon violates Town Council Parliamentary Rules
First some background on what led to the violation. During the October 16, 2019 Town Council Meeting, a discussion ensued regarding Mayor Winfield’s desire to reassign the Council Liaison positions for the various boards and commissions during that evening’s meeting rather than waiting until the current terms expire on December 31st.
Open Meeting Law
Winfield explained that he did not discuss the new council liaison assignments with each councilmember prior to the meeting because he was concerned about a possible violation of the Open Meeting Law since it was something that they would all be voting on. He consulted with the town attorney who recommended that he communicate the town council liaison appointments through the town manager, so that’s what he did.
Councilmembers Pina, Rodman, and Solomon become confrontational
Despite Mayor Winfield offering valid reasons for amending the liaison assignments and for not discussing the changes with the council beforehand, Councilmembers Pina, Rodman, and Solomon launched into multiple diatribes claiming that Winfield was disrespectful to them in not discussing the changes with them prior to the meeting.
The video of that discussion was posted on LOVE on October 21st. If you haven’t yet seen it, you can watch it HERE
“Town Attorney” Solomon speaks
Councilmember Solomon gave his “legal” opinion that, “if it’s done on an individual basis, it’s not a violation of the Open Meeting Law.” Solomon also insisted that not discussing the new liaison assignments beforehand, “shows a complete lack of cooperation, a complete lack of a desire to have the council work together, an obvious disdain for the other council members, and I could go on and on…” (Yes, we all know that Solomon likes to go on and on and on).
Mayor Winfield defends himself via waiving his attorney-client privilege
Winfield asked the town attorney to tell the council what advice he gave Winfield about discussing the liaison assignments prior to the meeting.
Attorney Cohen: “…As I recall, I received an inquiry from the mayor about, I believe you were in the process of coordination with the Town Manager to make certain assignments to the various boards and commissions amongst the council members, and you asked me if you could communicate with the individual council members, if that would be an Open Meeting Law violation, or if there was another way to do it, and my instruction, using one of my favorite phrases that I use all the time is, “out of an abundance of caution I think it would be best if it came from the Town Manager.”
“Mayor” Solomon speaks
Vice-Mayor Barrett made a motion to approve the amended liaison assignments. Councilmember Nicolson seconded the motion and then “Mayor” Solomon blurted out, “It’s been seconded and now it’s open for discussion. Correct?"
The proper parliamentary procedure is to say, “Mr. Mayor” and wait to be recognized before speaking. Solomon did not do that. He usurped the mayor’s role and attempted to commandeer the proceedings. This from a person who just accused the mayor of being disrespectful to certain council members! Winfield was visibly annoyed but maintained his composure. (I don’t know how he does it).
Excerpts from Town of Oro Valley Parliamentary Rules
"SECTION 10. Discussion and voting procedures – 10.3 Getting the Floor
Every Councilmember desiring to speak shall address the Mayor, and upon recognition by the Mayor, shall confine himself/herself to the question under debate.In my opinion, interrupting others, usurping the mayor’s role, speaking in a condescending tone, and making unfounded accusations is neither professional nor dignified and wreaks of desperation.
SECTION 13. Code of Conduct – 13.6 Respect
Councilmembers shall show respect to all colleagues by acting in a professional and dignified manner whether in support of the issue or expressing an adverse point of view."
Diane Peters has lived in Oro Valley since 2003, moving here to escape the humidity of the East Coast. She’s been involved in OV politics and development issues since 2006. In 2014, she organized a citizens group, who over a 9-month period, successfully negotiated a controversial 200-acre development project. In her past life, she worked in medical research at various University Hospitals in New England. Her interests include reading, writing, nature photography, travel, art galleries, museums, and politics.