Archive for Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Council discusses quorum number

January 7, 2004

Four seems to be a good number for the Baldwin City Council.

There seemed to be agreement among council members at Monday's meeting that a quorum of four worked well for Baldwin.

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"We haven't had to cancel a meeting yet for lack of a quorum, which had been a concern," Mayor Ken Hayes said.

The council first increased the number of its quorum from three to four in June 2001. The issue was first addressed because when the council had a quorum of three, two council members were not able to discuss city business outside of the meetings without being in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Increasing the quorum allowed two council members to talk freely when not at meetings.

But the change also required four members present at council meetings to conduct business, which had been a concern when members voted on the quorum ordinance in 2001.

Council Member Todd Cohen said the quorum change had only seemed to benefit the council.

"I think it's worked well," he said.

Hayes agreed.

"Two council members can speak to each other outside of the meeting room without being in violation of the open meeting act," he said. "I think it promotes conversation between elected officials."

The council originally approved the charter ordinance for the quorum change for 14 months. In November 2002, the ordinance was extended for an additional 14 months.

Monday's discussion was the first reading for the new charter ordinance for the quorum. The council will vote on the ordinance at the Jan. 19 meeting.

In other business, the city council:

  • Approved in a 5-0 vote a three-year contract with Ottawa Sanitation Service for trash service. The rate payment structure will not change from the last contract Baldwin had with Ottawa Sanitation.
  • Approved in a 5-0 vote the appointments of Rick Lees and Darrell Bowersox to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • Did not take any action following a 40-minute executive session.

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