No-show aldermen nearly bring city business to a halt

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117812581327534.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) has not been to a City Council or committee meeting since March 5.‘);

Rockford’s scheduled Finance and Personnel Committee meeting was never called to order April 30 because a quorum could not be reached.

Each of the major standing committees consists of four or five aldermen. A majority, at least three aldermen, must be present to reach a quorum.

The Planning and Development Committee did meet, with all members present. Aldermen on the committee are Victory Bell (D-5), Frank Beach (R-10), Dan Conness (D-14) and Jeff Holt (D-11).

Aldermen Lenny Jacobson (D-6) and Bill Timm (R-9) were the only Finance and Personnel Committee members present at City Hall April 30. Aldermen John Beck (R-12), Joe Sosnowski (R-1) and Linda McNeely (D-13) were absent.

McNeely has not attended a City Council or committee meeting since March 5.

Maurice Redd, executive director of Southwest Ideas for Today and Tomorrow (SWIFTT), is rumored to be eyeing McNeely’s council seat. Redd is the nephew of Winnebago County Board member Dorothy Redd (D-6).

Despite the absence of Aldermen Doug Mark (R-3) and Carl Wasco (D-4), the Codes and Regulations Committee was also able to reach a quorum, with Aldermen Nancy Johnson (D-8), Pat Curran (R-2) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) showing up to see to the city’s business.

As committee meetings were set to begin, this reporter sat in an empty conference room waiting for the Finance and Personnel Committee to address such matters as geotechnical services related to the Morgan Street bridge and radiological testing; two issues the committee had already laid over a week before.

An award of bid for geotechnical services was to be voted on by the full council April 30. However, because no quorum could be reached by Finance and Personnel, the matter wasn’t able to move out of committee.

Issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act, traffic control devices, the city’s vouchers for the week and resolutions to take bids and proposals would also have to wait.

After an impromptu head-count, there were serious doubts as to whether there would even be a quorum for the regular council meeting.

Convening 22 minutes late, the official roll call for the City Council reflects nine of 14 aldermen in attendance. Ald. Holt, however, left the meeting after being counted present.

from the May 2-8, 2007, issue

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