This happened on Monday.
DeKalb’s council is made up of seven aldermen chosen by ward and a mayor. Aldermen seemed interested Monday in establishing a rule that would call for at least four aldermen to be in favor of a measure before it could pass.
On most questions brought before council, a simple majority vote is all that’s needed, and the mayor doesn’t (or at least isn’t supposed to) vote. Council already needs to have four in most situations.
What this potential proposal would do is impose the requirement of a super-majority vote on council if even one alderman is absent. And in the scenario of the non-voting mayor and four aldermen, unanimous votes would be required to get anything done. And for what good reason?
This is, in short, not smart. It’s a bad solution for a non-existent problem. It rarely happens that even two council members are absent for any council meeting. What’s more, one situation where we might anticipate the absence of several council members would be a special meeting to deal with an emergency. To be shackled with a super-majority or unanimous vote requirement could have awful implications when time is of the essence for decision-making.
No, as long as the quorum of five is met for conducting the city’s business, leave the voting rules for aldermen alone.
That being said, there is a structural problem with DeKalb’s voting rules. Read the rest of this entry