Sunday, February 18, 2018

What's on the Council agenda for 2/20/18: Not much, nothing likely to generate controversy and nothing of much importance.

By Rod Williams - The Metro Council will meet Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Council chamber at the Metro Courthouse.  If you are going to watch the Council meeting, you need a copy of the Council agenda and the staff analysis  or you really will not know what is going on. You can get the agenda and analysis at the highlighted links. If you normally watch the Council meeting but want to skip a meeting, this is a meeting to skip.  I see nothing on the agenda likely to generate controversy and nothing of very much importance. 

 There are 15 resolution on the agenda and all are on the consent agenda at this time. A resolution stays on the consent agenda if it passes  unanimously the committees to which it was assigned. Resolutions which receive negative votes in committee are pulled off of consent. Also any councilman may have a resolution pulled off of consent. Those remaining on consent are lumped together and passed by a single vote. Resolutions on the consent agenda are usually not controversial and tend to be routine matters, such as accepting grants from the Federal or State Government, entering into inter agency agreements over mundane things, appropriating money from the 4% fund, settling lawsuits, or approving signs overhanging the sidewalk. Unlike a bill which requires three votes of the Council to pass, a resolution only requires one vote of the Council. None of the resolutions on this agenda are of significant interest.

I do not read bills on First Reading. First reading is a formality that gets bills on the agenda. Except on very rare occasions, all bills on First Reading are lumped together and pass by a single vote.

There are 21 bills on second reading most of which are "acquisition of certain right-of-way easements, drainage easements, temporary construction easements and property rights by negotiation or condemnation for use in public projects of the Metropolitan Government." This is for sidewalk construction.

Below are other items of interest:

Bill BL2018-1063  on second reading is a bill to "require the Procurement Division to collect comprehensive data regarding the participation of subcontractors in the procurement process."  Currently, the Minority and Women Business Assistance Office (BAO) is authorized to collect information to monitor the Procurement Nondiscrimination Program. The information “may” include information regarding business ownership, supplier information, and subcontractor information. This changes the "may" to "shall."  In the past and probably still, I know this program is often abused. Sometimes a White contractor and a Black subcontractor may switch rolls to get an advantage as a minority-owned firm. The White guy may agree to be the subcontractor to the Black guy. Also, I have known of instances years ago, where a man would make his wife the owner of their family-owned construction company in order to gain and advantage as a women-owned business. I don't know if this would reveal those manipulations are not, but it may.

Bill BL2018-1055 on third reading would protect General Hospital from being downgraded to an out patient facility only and would provide that  until June 30, 2019 the mayor may not terminate any agreement between Metro and the Metro Hospital Authority without prior approval of the Metro Council by resolution.This is very disappointing. I am very disappointing to see that Councilman Steve Glover is one of the sponsors of this bill.  Metro General is a money pit that cannot fill its beds and serves no purpose that could not be served at a much lower cost and is only kept open because it is source of pride in the Black community. Earlier this year, Mayor Barry had a proposal to close General and convert it into an outpatient clinic but got push back and buckled to pressure and dropped the proposal.

Bill BL2017-1026  on third reading is a zoning bill sponsored by Scott Davis, disapproved by the Planning Commission. I know nothing about the merits of this rezoning and am only calling attention to this bill because it is a disapproved bill and will require 27 votes to pass.

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