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Decorum resolution postponed

Damascus City Councilors on Monday, Nov. 5, postponed voting on a resolution to appoint a third party to maintain order and decorum at city council meetings.

Councilors wanted more time to iron out legalities of the resolution, which calls for allowing the city manager to appoint a third party as a “sergeant-at-arms” to “carry out all orders and instructions by a majority vote of the Council for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum in the Council Chambers,” according to the resolution.

It is now set to appear on the Nov. 15 city council work session agenda, but by then it could be a moot point: That meeting will be the council's first one following the Nov. 6, election in which Mayor Steve Spinnett is vying against two fellow councilors in his bid for a second two-year term.

Spinnett said via email that such a resolution violates the city's charter by removing the mayor's authority to enforce order in council meetings and transfers it to a majority vote of council.

Council President Diana Helm disagrees. She said the resolution is needed because Spinnett is not doing his job controlling the meetings.

“We just want to keep decorum in council meetings, which falls under council rules, which falls under his leadership or lack there of,” she said. “... He basically facilitates these disruptive meetings, and we're not getting any work done.”

The proposed resolution comes on the heels of a freshly rescinded no-trespass order that the city issued to two Damascus residents after some interpreted their comments at an Oct. 15 council meeting as threatening.




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