Bare asserts meeting was unlawful

Pensacola Councilman Charles Bare issued the following press release to the media this afternoon:

Adjourning Today’s Meeting Provides More Time for Citizen Input and Participation

PENSACOLA, January 25, 2013 — This morning, seven members of the city council assembled in a committee of the whole meeting prepared to discuss the Mayor’s appointee to the Restore Act Advisory Committee. The only problem was that the Mayor or his staff members do not have the ability to call a meeting of the committee of the whole. The Mayor is only able to call a meeting of the full Council and not committees. Because this issue had been referred to the committee of the whole, our meeting was not lawfully called.

Within the first 30 seconds of the meeting, I moved to adjourn. My reasoning was the fact that citizens did not have enough time to give input or have adequate notice of this meeting (called just 12 hours after our meeting last night). This motion failed and we began a discussion of whether this meeting was even called in a lawful manner. The City Attorney weighed in and cited our rules and procedures allowing the Mayor to call meetings of the Committee of the Whole. Unfortunately, the City Attorney did not have the most recent version of the Rules. He was reading from the rules that applied in the previous governance structure.

After some discussion, I asked the council to consider a motion to adjourn and to reconvene at the call of the chair next week. This motion passed. I want to thank my fellow council members for putting the citizens first. Moving our meeting to next week will give citizens more time to make their voices heard. It will also provide a better time frame for them to be able to adjust schedules to attend our next meeting.

It is also my hope that within this time city residents will voice their opinions about the mayor’s selection of Mr. David Penzone for this position. Mr. Penzone’s status as a consultant to the city and the fact that he does not live in the city limits are both concerns. I am hopeful that the Mayor will consider additional appointees as we make this critical decision for the future of Pensacola.
Note: I can’t help but see the irony in some of the council members crying for more citizen input after the previous city council appointed Maren Deweese without accepting any nominations from their districts and no other input. However, Charles Bare wasn’t on the council when Larry Johnson nominated Deweese and the council approved her appointment unanimously.