Controversy brews in Trinity

Jan. 12, 2013 @ 07:24 PM

Some members of the Trinity City Council are at odds with the mayor over the way appointments are made to city committees.

And residents soon may face more rules when it comes to public speaking at council meetings.
Both topics will be addressed at the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.
The current public speaking policy allows residents 3 minutes per speaker where they can address any issues, whether listed on the agenda or not. The proposed policy limits the total speaking time, requires speakers to be courteous in their language and presentation and prohibits discussion on issues that concern the candidacy of any person seeking public office or matters in litigation.
“I feel like this is something important, and it’s something that our constituents care about greatly. Because of that, I wanted it dealt with as soon as possible,” Councilwoman Karen Bridges said at a recent pre-agenda meeting when making the motion to put the topic on this week’s agenda. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Debbie Frazier.
Also at the meeting, Councilwoman Linda Gantt told Mayor Carlton Boyles that she would like to have Councilman Ed Lohr and Councilwoman Debbie Frazier put back on the city’s personnel committee.
Some council members are upset about not being consulted about recent committee appointments, which, according to the city ordinance, are made by the mayor. The new committee includes Gantt, Lohr and Councilman Tommy Johnson.
“I do not know about other committees, but the committee that I was working on, personnel, had already started working on the personnel manual,” Gantt said. “That is going to be a chore. I would really like to have the committee put back the way it was. In the past, the committees really have not been changed every year. I went back and looked.”
Frazier said she would like amend the ordinance to give the full council the authority to appoint committee members.
“I would like to make a motion to amend the authority to appoint council committees back to the Trinity City Council, let the terms be for two years, changing on election years, and we will revert back to what they were before Dec. 18 when the mayor made the changes,” Frazier said.
Boyles said he didn’t believe the ordinance should be changed without public discussion, adding that Frazier wanted to “override” the city ordinance because she’s “agitated” that the recent committee appointments didn’t go her way.
“You’re trying to debase an ordinance that has been established in the city for years and years just because you did not get your way,” Boyles said. “I do not think you can legally override an ordinance unless you do it in public and hold a public hearing.”
City Manager Debbie Hinson asked that the council wait until all members of the council were present to make any decision concerning the ordinance. City staff and City Attorney Bob Wilhoit were asked to research the matter and the council voted to add it to Tuesday’s agenda by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Tommy Johnson opposed.
The meeting will be held Tuesday in the City Hall Annex building, at 6701 N.C. 62, beginning at 7 p.m.
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