Why discipline Wales?

I agree wholeheartedly with City Councilman Bill Peloza’s recent comments in the March 30 Auburn Reporter, that the press is fanning and promoting discord amongst an already stressed City Council. This week-by-week progressive commentary is motivating controversy over an item that doesn’t even deserve a footnote of acknowledgement.

From reviewing the meeting video it was clear that Mayor Nancy Backus, chair of the meeting, acknowledged Council member Largo Wales, who was then immediately interrupted by council member John Holman, to exercise a point of order, which he alleged Wales was in violation of. After the out-of-order infraction was explained by Holman, Backus then again recognized Wales, who said that her only intention was to actually thank Holman for the clarification that he’d just provided to the budgetary motion for ordinance No. 6679, which was at hand … very polite and collegial for someone who’d just gotten verbally slapped by the person she was attempting to compliment.

Then I tried to listen for the alleged following expletive. I replayed that period three times, increasing the volume each time, and finally, with my volume on full did I hear something that might have been said by Wales. The business then continued with a vote on the ordinance, and no reference by any member was made to anything that Wales had allegedly uttered, nor did I find any reference to the “comment” in the minutes of the meeting.

So I have two questions that the Auburn Reporter neglected to reveal. What was allegedly said, and who filed an official complaint that has caused any need for disciplinary action?

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, revised 1996, Section VII Item 43 addressing Decorum in Debate: “Disorderly words should be taken down by the member who objects to them, or by the secretary, and then read to the member. If he denies them, the assembly shall decide by a vote whether they are his words or not. If a member cannot justify the words he used, and will not suitably apologize for using them, it is the duty of the assembly to act in the case.”

Therefore, whatever under-the-breath, derogatory comment that Wales, in frustration made, should have been immediately addressed, with a suggested apology, and not allowed to fester, fanned by antagonist reporting.

According to Roberts Rules, which our esteemed reporter says is the basis for the conduct of City Council meetings, the due process of addressing this “issue” had passed, and in lieu of any disciplinary action, an apology by Wales to Holman for the use of profanity (which there is actually no record of) should be accepted, and end this matter now.

The council has much more pressing issues to manage. It must be a really slow news cycle if this matter is the focus of reporting, or there is a less than subtle attempt to diminish Wales.

– Mark Flanery

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