Absent Members Delay Council Votes

Aug 2, 2017

Cincinnati City Council met Wednesday but couldn't act on legislative items because three members were absent.  

It takes seven votes to suspend a rule needed to pass most ordinances. With three members missing, there were only six votes.  

Mayor John Cranley noted council only holds one meeting in August.

"It does seem reasonable that people, who are paid by the taxpayers, would schedule vacations around the one meeting between late June and September," Cranley said. "Three days out of two months to do the people's business that we're paid to do."

Council was supposed to vote on ordinances necessary to let Children's Hospital move forward with a $650 million expansion plan. The Neighborhoods Committee couldn't vote on those items Tuesday because it lacked a quorum.

Some council members questioned whether the missing members were trying to play games with the Children's vote.

Vice Mayor David Mann is considered the dean of City Hall.

"My service now is 22 years, and I'm searching my memory whether we've ever had a phenomenon that people apparently have stayed away because they want to control the impact or the conclusion," Mann said. "It's not what we're elected to do and it's very disappointing."

Council Member Charlie Winburn said in a note he had a scheduling conflict. Wendell Young's staff said in a letter he was out of town, and Yvette Simpson posted on social media that she's dealing with a family medical emergency.  

City Council will hold special sessions next week to consider items that couldn't be approved during Wednesday's regular meeting.