City Council: No Quorum, No Meeting

A quorum is made up of the mayor and five councilmen or six councilmen if the mayor is absent, the city charter state

The was unable to hold their scheduled meeting Monday night because there weren’t enough elected officials there to constitute a quorum.

Council President Matthew McKnight (Ward 1) stood in as mayor for Marc Tartaro who had a medical issue to tend to and had previously told the council that he would be absent.

“We won’t be able to have the meeting…” McKnight said. “We will do this business on the Aug. 8 meeting.”

A quorum is made up of the mayor and five councilmen or six councilmen if the mayor is absent, the city charter states.

Those in attendance were Tim Hunt (Ward 3), Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5), David Hiles (Ward 2) and Candace Hollingsworth (Ward 1) and McKnight (Ward 3).

Ward 1 was present to be sworn into office but city code stipulates that a quorum must be present for the council to take action on anything.

In order for Wingard to be sworn in, the council must first have accepted the Ward 1 Special Election results, which named Wingard the winner.

According to McKnight, said this situation has not happened during his 10 years on the job.

McKnight said he wasn’t aware that Councilwoman Paula Perry (Ward 4) was traveling and wouldn’t attend until he got to the council meeting. Councilwoman Shani Warner (Ward 2) delivered a baby Monday morning.

When telephoned after not showing up to the meeting, council members Carlos Lizanne (Ward 4) and Nicole Hinds-Mofor (Ward 5) did not answer, McKnight said.

They did not alert him to their intended absence before the meeting, he said.

Hunt said the council’s policies and procedures stipulate that council members who won’t be attending a meeting alert Barber before the meeting. Hunt wasn’t immediately aware if there is a time frame for that alert to be made.


Chris Suspect August 02, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Wow, this is not good. Hopefully it was a fluke.
Sarah Nemeth August 02, 2011 at 06:29 PM
I hope so too, Chris! I believe it was the first since I've been around and Barber said the first in his 10 years. Guess we'll have to see! Sarah
Shani August 03, 2011 at 11:13 PM
I feel terrible about this. Obviously, having just given birth, I had an unusually good excuse. And I did email the other Council Members and the Council Member elect before the meeting to let them know I'd be out and why (although admittedly not Doug Barber, although in my defense I tried to send 3 separate emails via Outlook to other City employees to no avail--apparently the City's Outlook system has some kinks when you try to use it via iPhone or iPad). Not to come off as overly defensive, I just regret that I was one of the absences that led to this situation.
Sarah Nemeth August 04, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Hi Shani! Awww, I think we Hyattsville residents wouldn't mind giving you a pass on this one ;-) I don't think anyone expected you to he anywhere but with your sweet newborn! Congratulations, BTW and welcome to our world, little Arcadia! --Sarah


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