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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 2, 2012 - Addendum on the CEG proposals

Proposal introduced by the Mayor outside of the constructs of the agenda 

The following was sent by Mayor Rudy Wright to Joe Brannock of the CEG in relation to this e-mail after the Mayor had stated that he was willing to reach out to people that are not satisfied with Hickory City Government.

Joe Brannock's e-mail to Council Members:  
The CEG would appreciate the opportunity to meet with council representatives to discuss concerns expressed by citizens which led to the recent referendum. It is our hope that the mayor was sincere, and that each of you share in his sentiment in wanting to address those "factors that affected the referendum and use the referendum to propel Hickory forward in unity."

We issued a press release outlining what we know are concerns that have been expressed to us and that we believe deserve to be addressed.

We look forward to working with council representatives on coming together to begin a new chapter in our city's history.

I can be reached at either this email address or by cell at 828-455-3789.

We would appreciate your attention and input in scheduling a meeting.

All the Best

- Joe Brannock
Mayor Wright's response:
As I have stated repeatedly over the past 11 years, I stand ready to talk with any voter at any time with respect to  his/her concerns about matters affecting them or about matters affecting our City in general, and know that all members of Council share that commitment. I will be meeting directly with interested voters in public meetings over the coming weeks to demonstrate my continued commitment to open government and unity of purpose among Hickory residents of all walks of life. I don't have plans to meet with special-interest political committees of any stripe, particularly one that has announced its agenda to the world via press release prior to calling on us to speak with them about that agenda. Recognizing that  residents have expressed concerns to me about citizen comment at our Council meetings coming after our votes have been taken, I will make a motion that, for tonight's meeting,  we allow those Hickory residents who wish to speak about a SPECIFIC agenda item do so before 2nd readings and before consent agenda and department reports. Other resident comments will come at the end of the meeting as has been our custom. Of course, resident comments at any time will be subject to our customary standards of decorum. As a reminder my cell # is 238 1465, email addresses and

The Hound: I don't think proper protocol was followed here. This was not part of the agenda. It was not a matter on the Agenda. This was not on the public City Council Agenda. The Mayor introduces it and they vote upon it as soon as Fire Chief Hollar's swearing in ceremony takes place. 

And this is what the Mayor proposes at the 10:25 mark of the City Council meeting and the Council unanimously consented to. It does not address the proposed CEG issues that have been brought forward, because the CEG's reasoning is not allowed into the decision making process. The Mayor and by unanimous consent the Council have gone ahead and taken an action on their own without listening to the public once again and is that not what got us to this place to start with? Their is an unwillingness to listen to the public.

At the end of the meeting, as part of Matters not on the Agenda, Alderman Lail readdresses the issue at the 1:09:30 mark of the meeting and an ensuing discussion takes place for several minutes. We commend Alderman Lail for this action, but not to second guess would have preferred that he done this before the Mayor's proposal was voted upon earlier. It seems everyone else is on board with whatever the Mayor proposes lock, stock, and barrel.

CEGs first 5 proposals for a more representative City Council
1) Move time for citizens requesting to be heard to the top of the agenda at City council meetings.

2) Demand that council members take conflict of interest matters more seriously.

3) Record and broadcast City council meetings via Charter Cable and the internet.

4) Restore citizen’s right to request that items be removed from the consent agenda.

5) Make “working agendas” available by Wednesday of each week before a City council meeting to give citizens time to be aware and prepare for meetings.
Citizen Requesting to be Heard

James "Jimmy" Davis felt moved to address the council at the end of the meeting in relation to the motions, votes, and discussion above and other issues related to this City Council meeting.

And Mayor Wright's final response to Joe Brannock after Council last night:

Mr Brannock - tonight Council voted unanimously to accept my motion to let citizens who wanted to speak on a SPECIFIC agenda item to do so before our votes, rather than at the end of the meeting - as you and I both know that issue has arisen just once in the past 11 years, but I felt it was a move most citizens would understand - Why did you send an email to all Council, except me, and you didn't copy the newspaper, asking that they deny my motion? You said in that email you wanted to talk with some/all Council members before we vote - What objective(s) could you have to ask that we delay what your group has been asking for? I'm serious about serving the people of Hickory and have no patience for political games.. Why didn't you copy me on your emails to Council? I responded directly to you, and copied the paper because the good people of Hickory deserve the openness.

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