Morenci council: Slowing down the voting process could benefit city 2008.11.19

When Morenci mayor Doug Erskin suggested slowing down the voting process, it sounded like good news to us.

At the Nov. 10 meeting, the mayor presented council members with a pair of recommendations, one of which was to do away with voting on an issue the same night it comes before council.

More than once in past years, our opinion in this space has suggested that very thing. Read the changes as a proposal; then vote a meeting or two later.

This is the only way to get public opinion on issues before they become an official decision. As it is now, only the few people present at a meeting can have a say in council’s decision before it’s a done deal.

Some people might argue that city council members are elected to make the decisions and the public doesn’t need to argue every action. That’s one way to look at it, but there’s also the possibility that someone from the public might see a fault in a proposed action or perhaps someone will have an idea for a better way to handle an issue.

Rarely, council will bring up an issue, vote on it, then later backtrack because it wasn’t working out as expected.

We cover Fayette council meetings, too, and it’s standard practice there to delay voting until a third and final reading has been heard. That gives us the opportunity to report on proposed legislation and for citizens to think about the issue.

Council members in Fayette aren’t locked into the three-reading rule. If it’s considered essential for quick action, all it takes is a decision of five members to seek an immediate vote.

Morenci should take the same approach. Sometimes a timely decision is needed and the option to act quickly should remain. In most cases, however, councilors have the time to think it over and make sure they’re taking the best approach.

Mayor Erskin’s recommendation is a good one and we hope council members will agree.