The Greensboro City Council approved borrowing the $4.1 million needed to end loose leaf collection at the Tuesday, Jan. 2 meeting, but Councilmember Zack Matheny is not ready to give up the fight quite yet.
The vote to approve borrowing $4.1 million to purchase 75,000 yard waste carts and have them assembled and delivered was 6-2, with Matheny and Councilmember Hugh Holston voting no. Councilmember Yvonne Johnson was absent.
But in an email on Tuesday, Jan. 9, Matheny questions the validity of that motion.
Matheny in the email states, “By copy to the City Attorney, I made a motion and Hugh [Holston] seconded the motion after his comments before Sharon’s [Hightower] motion, being motion had a second, even though it was not immediate, doesn’t that [motion] still stand and should have been voted on?”
Matheny questioned the savings projected by staff and noting that the loose leaf collection program was not just about “a bunch of rich white people in your district,” as he had been told by a fellow councilmember, but dealt with the whole city.
He then said, “I would make a motion to deny the resolution and deny the ordinance.”
According to Robert’s Rules of Order, at that point Mayor Nancy Vaughan should have called for a second, and if there was no second then the motion would die for lack of a second.
But that didn’t happen. There was no chance for anyone to second the motion because Vaughan called on Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter to speak, who then said that Hightower could speak first.
One problem with Matheny’s question is that it is based on the assumption that the Greensboro City Council complies with the City of Greensboro Ordinances that states, “Sec. 2-22, – Rules of Procedure.
“Except where otherwise provided by law or ordinance, the procedure of the city council shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.”
City Attorney Chuck Watts has repeatedly stated that the City Council does not operate under Robert’s Rules of Order despite what the ordinance states.
Since the City Council is not governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, or any other parliamentary guide, the mayor appears to have every right to ignore a motion that she doesn’t like and recognize motions that she does, as happened in this case.