UPDATE 11/20/12 9 p.m.: Video from Monday night’s controversial city council meeting has been added (thanks to Pat Lemoine), showing Jack Block Jr.’s motions, as well as responses from Gerald Robison and Deputy Mayor Rose Clark – including her sudden adjournment of the meeting and walk-out:
In what may be a first-time occurrence in Burien politics, at Monday night’s City Council meeting, councilmember Jack Block Jr. made a motion that would put on the April ballot a choice to elect a city mayor – only to have the meeting abruptly adjourned by Deputy Mayor Rose Clark.
Clark and fellow councilmember Gerald Robison then walked out of the council chambers early, prematurely adjourning the session since a quorum was no longer present – possibly for the first time in Burien’s history.
With Mayor Brian Bennett and Councilwoman Joan McGilton absent, Block earlier had moved to rescind the city’s designation of unincorporated North Highline as a potential annexation area in the wake of the overwhelming rejection by voters Nov. 6 (over 65% voted “No”). Block did this despite objections by Deputy Mayor Clark and Councilman Gerald Robison, who both noted there was no urgency in acting on that motion.
But Block and Councilmembers Bob Edgar and Lucy Krakowiak prevailed on a 3-2 vote.
“Unfortunately,” Clark announced, “the minority on the council prevailed tonight.”
Clark, who earlier had told Block he was “showing extreme disrespect to the full council,” then abruptly recessed the meeting.
When interviewed after Monday night’s meeting, Block defended his actions:
“It’s unfortunate that after all the high talk of letting voters in North Highline have a choice on their future that the citizens of Burien don’t get the same opportunity,” Block told The B-Town Blog. “The business of the council needs to move forward regardless of someone’s vacation schedule. If anyone wants to question ethics, what about recessing a meeting prematurely, then walking out?”
It’s no secret that there’s disharmony on Burien’s current City Council, which usually splits along a 4-3 vote – Bennett, Clark, McGilton and Robison vs Block, Krakowiak and Edgar.
And Monday night’s theatrics certainly aren’t going to heal any rifts.
“I’m really disappointed the meeting was adjourned because the third motion I was going to make was to hire two new police officers,” Block added. “But because the meeting was ended we may not have a chance to do this. We had a federal grant – which expires soon – to hire two new officers, but we needed a quorum.”
The next council meeting will be Dec. 3, so stay tuned…