In case you missed the Ferndale City Council meeting of June 14th, when an ordinance passed transferring supervision and control of public safety to the city manager from council, I've written a brief play recounting the highlights.
[The stage is dark, but the lights gradually come up.]
Mayor Covey: Madame Clerk, our next item please.
Clerk Tallman: Item 8B, consideration of an ordinance dissolving the council and transferring control of our city government to the city manager.
Councilman Lennon: WTF?
Tallman: I mean, an ordinance transferring control of an obscure department no one every knew about as well as public safety to the city manager.
Lennon: WTF? Do you mean Bruner will be in charge of police and fire?
Covey: Cool, isn't it?
Lennon: He's too young to buy alcohol or play with matches! Why would we put him in charge of police and fire?
Covey: We all agreed about this.
Lennon: No one talked to me.
Councilwoman Piana: Whoops?
Covey: I meant, we talked about this before.
Lennon: Before what?
Piana: Before you showed up?
Lennon: Why didn't this go to the Ordinance Committee? Shouldn't something like this be reviewed on by the ordinance committee or at the Elks? I'm on the ordinance committee. I would have remembered. This is a major change. Don't you need four votes?
Covey: We already have four votes.
Piana: Mike, I am perhaps the most qualified person on this council to speak to this item? Besides, I was the one that went to the Mackinac Policy Conference? And when I told them I was from Ferndale they laughed at me? Because we haven't made our city manager the scapegoat for all our poor policy decisions?
Manager Bruner: What was that?
Piana: I mean, because we haven't made our city manager a king yet?
Piana: I mean, our city manager can more efficiently do.. you know.. stuff.. faster than we can?
Covey: Ms. Baker, did you have something to say?
Baker: Has Scott said anything yet?
Baker: I'll wait.
Piana: When I went to the Mackinac Policy Conference..
Lennon: You already said that.
Piana: .. they were mean to me? I was embarrassed being from Ferndale?
Lennon: They weren't laughing at you because the police and fire chiefs report to council...
Piana: Everyone agrees with me, that to streamline government it's best to use our taxpayers more wisely?
Baker: Has Scott said anything yet?
Baker: Then I agree with Melonie [Piana].
Covey: I need a motion.
Lennon: I've got your motion...
Covey: I mean, I need a motion we can vote on.
Lennon: We've only been discussing this 10 minutes and you want to vote? We harassed a women for 50 minutes last year over selling flowers on Mother's Day and you want to change our form of government in 10 minutes?
Covey: Cool, eh?
Councilman T. Scott Galloway: Mike [Lennon], this was discussed at several meetings. Everybody should have been aware this was coming. Besides, the woman selling flowers wasn't from Blumz... I mean... we were concerned about public safety.
Baker: I agree with Scott.
Piana: But now that'll be Bruner's problem?
Covey: Cool, eh? [Covey looks up and notices an uncredited extra has walked onto the stage] Did you have something to say extra #1?
[the entire council looks attentive while the extra speaks her lines]
Covey: Thank you extra #1. You know your name won't even roll on the credits, don't you?
[Three more extras approach the microphone, speak their lines, and exit stage left.]
Covey: Did you hear something?
Baker: Did Scott say something?
Galloway: Does this actually change the charter? I mean, really.
Bruner: The charter gives you the right to change sections by a four-to-one vote.
Galloway: So, since the charter gives us the right to change the charter through mechanisms provided in the charter and since the charter was voted on by the people we're actually changing the charter with the charter-provided mechanisms for charter-changing with voter's approval, right?
Baker: I agree.
Covey: I'm voting in favor of this because I wanted prior notice of when the Chief of Police was going to issue press releases. When I asked him what I need to get copied on those releases he said three votes.
Lennon: What would it take for residents to get prior notice of council's changing our form of government?
Covey: At least 1700 votes. Cool, eh?
Covey: Madame Clerk, roll call.
[Baker pumps her fist]
Lennon: Not just no, but HELL NO.
Baker: Does that count as two votes?
Tallman: ..and Mayor Covey?
Covey: Yes. The motion passes as everyone but Lennon agreed to ahead of time. Madame clerk, our next item please.
Tallman: Consideration of an ethics rule regarding the Sunshine and Open Meetings Act...
Tallman: ... just kidding.