Monday, February 20, 2012

What to look for at the February 21st Metro Council Agenda

 Will Brady Banks Show; Will Arriola Have to Go.

There is not much of interest on the agenda this meeting other than two non-binding memorializing resolutions regarding County Court Clerk John Arriola. The real drama will be if Brady Banks, who was arrested in a Metro police prostitution sting operation recently, will attend the Council meeting. If he does show, will he make a statement?
You can get your own copy of the Metro council meeting at this link: Agenda.The agenda also links to the analysis. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on. With an agenda and analysis, they are just really boring.

Other than the two Arriola resolutions the only other legislation of note is BL2012-91 which would amend the Metro code to require a fiscal impact statements to be prepared for all pending legislation. This ordinance is modeled after the state law requiring fiscal notes to be attached to all legislation. The fiscal note is to include a dollar estimate of the anticipated change in revenue, expenditures, or fiscal liability associated with the resolution or ordinance. I think this is a positive development. Giving the Council more information to help them reach decisions is a good thing.

The first of the two memorializing resolutions regarding embattled County Court Clerk John Arriola is RS2012-158 by Councilman Robert Duvall calling for Arriola to resign.  Last Council meeting the council deferred action on this resolution for one meeting although the Rules Committee vetoed 10 to zero to defer until the DA had acted. Duvall got a partial victory by getting the Council to approve only a one meeting deferral. The DA may not act for months.  Jason Holleman has been the leader in arguing  the Council should wait until the District Attorney takes action as did the Council in the case of David Torrence. At the last Council meeting Duvall reviewed the comptroller's audit of Arriola's office and said, "These violations are much worse than anything David (Torrence) did." The drama will continue this meeting. I am pulling for Robert Duvall. Arriola needs to step down now.  If he steps down, the DA can continue to pursue criminal charges.

The other Arriola resolution is RS2012-171 by Charlie Tygard and it request that  Arriola refund the forty dollar “gratuity” paid by couples married by the County Clerk between September 1, 2006, and July 30, 2011. The Comptroller’s audit report says that the County Clerk’s Office employees in the marriage department were required to collect an additional forty dollar cash fee for the performance of marriage ceremonies, and that this potentially netted Mr. Arriola an estimated $119,000 in additional personal income. I do not see what arguments the friends of Arriola on the Council can make against this bill. The Comptroller's audit clearly shows that people paying the fee where told they had to pay it and it was not a voluntary gratuity. Arriola illegally took the money; he should pay it back.

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