By Jimmie Covington
With Memphis City Council elections coming up in October, it is a good time to call on candidates to pledge to drop the unfair practice of declaring that actions of the council are not final until the minutes of a meeting are approved.
The Memphis council appears to be the only governmental body in Tennessee – and perhaps the only one in the United States — to follow this practice.
Members of the public have a right to know at the at the end of a meeting at which “final action” action has been taken that it is indeed final and that it cannot be reconsidered at a later meeting before the minutes of the previous meeting are approved.
Robert’s Rules of Order does provide for a matter to be reconsidered but it states that the reconsideration must take place before the end of the meeting at which the action was taken. If the governmental body has made a mistake, the previous action can be rescinded at any future meeting.
Rescinding an action involves a more extended and complicated process rather simply reconsidering a matter.
The council’s rule says that a matter can be reconsidered up until the point the minutes of a meeting are approved. The minutes of a meeting do not have to be approved at the next meeting.
This post is written by Jimmie Covington, veteran Memphis reporter with lengthy experience covering governmental, school, and demographic issues. He is a contributing writer with The Best Times, a monthly news magazine for active people 50 and older, where this is published in its August issue.
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