Sunday, June 06, 2004

David Tornheim sends along these paraphrased minutes from last week's Municipal Transportation Authority meeting, where directors discussed the agency's budget. It's very educational:

After a number of riders and drivers spoke against the most recent budget and against service cuts and certain expenditures, public comment was closed and the Directors shifted to how they would vote.

Chairperson Vaughns: Let me address the comment that the numbers are being “moved around”. I understand your concern. This is what budgeting is. If you move numbers around you might be able to make them balance ...

Chairperson Vaughns: What is the Board’s pleasure?
–silence-
Chairperson Vaughns (frustrated): What is the Board’s pleasure?
-silence-
Chairperson Vaughns (increasingly frustrated): What is the Board’s
pleasure?

Dinn: Motion to Approve
Mezy: Seconded.

Vaughns: discussion?
Vaughns: Role Call to the question.

Breyer-Black: No
Dinn: Aye
McCray: No
Mezy: Aye
Vaughns: Aye

Vaughns: Clerk, please call the result.
Clerk Boomer: 3 Ayes, 2 No’s. The motion fails.

Vaughns (shocked): What? Can you repeat?

Secretary (Board Clerk Robert Boomer): The result was 3-2. The motion fails. The motion requires a majority or 4 votes. Two directors are absent.

Vaughns: Are you sure? Wait. What does the City Attorney have to say?
Deputy City Attorney: The motion requires 4 votes.

Mezy (panicked): Are you saying we did not approve the budget?
Deputy City Attorney: Yes

Vaughns: Madam secretary, please tell me the code section.
Clerk rummages through her notes.
David Pilpel (rider) shouts from public area: It’s in the charter.
Vaughns (addressing Pilpel): Where?
Pilpel: the charter

Clerk reads board by-laws

Mezy: What’s going to happen now?
Deputy City Attorney: The preliminary budget of 2/27/04 continues to remain in effect. The Executive Director (Burns) has the authority to make the changes without the Board’s approval.

Breyer-Black: So this whole discussion of this item and all the public comment was just for show and is meaningless?
[audience applauds.]
Deputy City Attorney: The director has the authority ...

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