Bryan City Council Conundrum

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Right now it only takes two Bryan City Council Members to list a discussion item on a council agenda.

A special meeting- called this past Friday, and set for Tuesday- could change that.

It would require three council members approve an item before it goes on the agenda, instead of two.

District one representative Al Saenz says that change would silence the council's minority votes, of both he and district two representative Paul Madison.

"Regressive is the word I'm trying to think of," said Saenz. Its setting us back really, literally setting us back 30 years."

Bryan Mayor Mark Conlee disagrees.

"I don't understand how it could have anything to do with the minority vote," said Conlee.
"When there's non unanimous votes, its never been by minority lines."

Saenz says that doesn't mean it won't be, on this council or future councils.

Conlee says the change- which was initiated by the City Manager's office- will improve communication.

"We have lots of five to two votes and this way the two will have to talk to at least one more councilman," said Conlee.

Currently, two council members can override a veto from the Mayor to place something on the agenda.

This proposal would increase that number to three. According to Saenz, that would stifle meaningful discussion.

"Discussing why we're spending this over here when we're not over there, when habitually it hasn't been spent over there. It has been spent everywhere else but in district 1 and 2 infrastructure. That's what I think a lot of this is about," said Saenz.

Conlee says that's not the case at all, and that changing the city code would streamline the meetings and save time and money.

"If you have only two people who want to put something on the agenda and the five have no inclination to talk about it at all, the staff spends untold hours of time working on an issue that everybody knows is going to fail," said Conlee.

The meeting is set for 8a.m. Tuesday at the Bryan City Council chambers.

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