Cincy Council unlikey to change one of its rules

May 14, 2013

For now, Cincinnati Council members will likely still be able to call for separate votes on items contained in larger ordinances and motions.  

The Rules and Government Operations Committee Tuesday approved a plan to delete the provision from the current Council rules.  But right now only five members support it and it takes six affirmative votes to change it.  

Rules Committee Chairwoman Yvette Simpson said the "move to separate" is confusing.

“There’s no indication of what determines whether a question is separable,” Simpson said.  “There’s no indication of who determines whether a question is separable.  It’s been the subject of many conversations since I’ve been on Council about whether something can be separated or not.”

But four other Council Members apparently feel otherwise.  Laure Quinlivan is against deleting the rule.  

“I think we need to retain choice,” Quinlivan said.  “And that’s what this rule does.  I don’t think it’s an issue.  I don’t think it’s a problem.”

One Council Member used the "move to separate" rule when the controversial parking lease was being adopted.  That move allowed opponents of the plan to collect petition signatures for a planned ballot issue.  
The original ordinance contained the lease provision and the appropriation language for the money from the parking plan.  Ohio law says such spending ordinances are not subject to referendum.

Meanwhile, Simpson said other proposed changes are likely coming.

“We’re going through a full rules review,” Simpson said.  “There are a lot of our rules that are unclear, that are inconsistent with one another that demand the attention of this committee.  And it’s important for me as chair of this committee that we give that full attention and that we move towards making sure our rules are clear to protect the integrity of what we do her everyday.”

Mayor Mallory just recently selected Simpson to chair the committee.