You thought the dust had settled, that the new commission chair and his appointments had finally been resolved and we were all going to sit around in commission chambers, do the people's business and sing kumbayah? Are you kidding? In Shelby County? Where, like the Volkswagon Beetle, government never runs right but it always runs...
The agenda appeared somewhat mild, nothing too exciting although, like every city and county in the country, there is a reduction of benefits and healthcare for police and fire. While I support these guys, these cuts are going on everywhere in the private sector. The problem with our government in this regard is, I know police and fire were here today to contest these cuts but it's the rest of the year that eats away at the money pie the benefits and healthcare are paid out of. I sympathize with these guys but if they want to change things, they need to make these meetings a priority, even when the agendas don't specifically address police and fire.
On to the crux of this post...Basar wants to alter the rules...
There was an add-on item in the general government committee that dealt with the Code of Ethics amendment...
(1) If the ethics officer refers a complaint to the county ethics commission, he or she
shall provide written comments to the county ethics commission as to its validity. Upon
receiving a complaint, the county ethics commission chair shall select a panel of three (3)
members of the county ethics commission to review the complaint. Such panel shall be
selected on a rotating basis. To the extent possible, the panel members shall be licensed
attorneys or have a Juris Doctor degree. The panel shall be comprised of two (2) lawyers and
one (1) member of the greater community.
The words in red will replace the words in yellow. We applaud Commissioner Roland for including members of the greater community, Juris Doctorate degree or not, as it does not take a Juris Doctorate to understand right from wrong, which is what the ethics committee deals with....ethics complaints.
Commissioner Basar, creatively labeled Darth Basar by the Midsouth Sentinel, is back. He wanted to add an add-on to an already added on add-on amendment which would have allowed the commission to change commission rules to allow a contested item to be added to the agenda with a majority vote instead of a two-thirds majority. Commissioner Basar doesn't like the fact that the chair can all by himself unilaterally strike something from the agenda all on his own. To get it back on the agenda you need two-thirds majority to get it back on and Basar thinks that's wrong. Why do I get the feeling if Commissioner Basar had been elected Chair, as he so ambitiously wanted, he would not have brought up an amendment that would have removed some of his powers. The dark side is calling, and unfortunately for Basar though, the force is not with him. How ironic that in order to change the rules so that you don't need a super majority to add items on the agenda, you need a super majority to pass it. Today's vote only got a simple majority 7 to 6.
The whole point of having a super majority is so that you can't just change and add on things willy nilly and add-on items should be few and far between. Why should they be few and far between? Se we can actually read the bills before we pass them...It's called gridlock and despite what people may think, gridlock is a feature....not a bug.
As always, nothing is final until full commission sings on Monday....hope to see you there...this could get interesting.