Council adopts guidelines for meetings

By James Draper
The Gladewater City Council officially adopted a new set of operating guidelines last week, simplified rules for parliamentary procedure that reflect how they’ve handled business for years.
The discussion and unanimous approval came amid a robust agenda that touched on a wide range of topics in an efficient two-hour span.
In addition to renaming a portion of Roden Lane and adjusting the lease for the community’s ballpark – covered in separate stories in the Mirror – the council members also unanimously re-upped the publication as the city’s newspaper of record.
Regarding their own operations, during the summer the council appointed a committee to study and update their procedures beyond their standard nod to Robert’s Rules of Order. Chaired by councilman Teddy Sorrells, the group included Mayor Scott Owens along with council members Brandy Flanagan and Rocky Hawkins.
According to Sorrells, “We had two meetings on this committee where we discussed rules for parliamentary procedure,” he said. They opted for simplified rules to avoid getting bogged down in overly-complex codes. “We took into account how we have done things in the past as a council.”
For example, in more rigid systems discussion may be restricted to only after a motion is being considered. The Gladewater council, however, typically opts to discuss an issue before a motion is made and may discuss the motion further after it’s presented.
“We decided to keep that process because it works well for us,” Sorrells noted. “What follows are just simplified rules for parliamentary procedure. We already operate under rules, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to get anything done.”
It’s not necessarily a departure from what’s already being done, Owens agreed.
“Maybe a little bit more formality from what we do sometimes,” he added.
After initially considering the same set of rules for the city’s boards as well, the council members agreed to keep them solely for the dais at City Hall.
“I thought we should leave the boards alone,” councilwoman Brandy Flanagan said. “They’re not a governing entity where anything could fall on them legally.”
In other business Sept. 21, the council:
• signed off on an application to East Texas Council of Government’s Solid Waste Grant. In the past, funds have been used for projects like the city’s ‘tire trailer’ collecting during a citywide cleanup event. “This will be for next Spring,” Mayor Scott Owens said.
• approved fire protection agreements between the Gladewater and Upshur County ESD #1 for both the city and for Union Grove;
• submitted John Ussery and Tracy McKnight as nominees for the Upshur County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Later this Fall, the council members will vote on a full slate of candidates nominated throughout the county: “We only have a portion of the vote and that’s allocated,” Owens said, “by the number of residents in upshur County within our city limits.”
• approved a standard municipal maintenance agreement between the City of Gladewater and Texas Department of Transportation;
• adopted a resolution to officially designate $1.57 million in monies from the Coronovirus State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund / American Rescue Plan Act toward salary expenses tied to qualifying projects;
• signed off on budget amendments for Gladewater Economic Development Corporation.

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