Last week, Lansing City Council members voted to approve the mayor's budget with one exception: They chose to appropriate funds for an external audit of BWL instead of funding a new Inspector General position in the mayor's cabinet.
That decision was based in part by a great deal of public input suggesting there was a desire for an independent agency to review BWL and not another position within the city.
Recall that the the BWL board of commissioners and director Peter Lark, whom the mayor says have not been doing their job and need additional oversight, were appointed by the mayor. (Note that 3 additional but non-voting board members will be appointed by surrounding municipalities beginning in July 2015 as approved by Lansing voters.)
The vote was 7-1, with only council member Jessica Yorko voting no, because no additional code compliance staff were added to the budget.
Mayor issues veto with revised budget
Yesterday, Mayor Bernero issued his veto to the council budget. He reinstated the Inspector General position ($200,000) while also retaining the external audit ($80,000) proposed by council.
It has also been speculated that some council members have flipped their votes to support the mayor's position.
Council needs 6 votes to override mayor's revised budget - and it has never happened
The vote was expected to take place on May 18th, the last regularly scheduled council meeting before the May 28th deadline to respond to the mayor's veto.
Council members A'Lynne Boles and Jessica Yorko had already requested excused absences for that meeting due to family matters, leaving the council with only six members to vote on the proposal, assuming that council member Vincent Delgado is able to return from out of the country to attend the vote.
Since Mayor Bernero has taken office, no city council has ever garnered the six votes required to override any of his vetoes on the city budget. But this may be the first time his veto stands without a vote.
Council may avoid vote entirely
Council president Tina Houghton did not place the vote on the City Council agenda for May 18, 2015.
This is the last city council meeting scheduled before the deadline to vote the on mayor's revised budget. Without a vote before May 28th, the mayor's veto and revised budget will activated by default.
Council seems poised to let the deadline pass without having to vote.
(1) Let the deadline expire and the mayor's veto will stand.
(2) Six council members can vote to add the agenda item to the May 18th meeting and vote with 2 members absent.
(3) Two or more council members can call a special meeting before the deadline and have the vote, assuming a quorum of council members attend. A few council members are actively pursuing this option.
Citizens wishing to have input on how this moves forward are requested to (a) contact all city council members by phone, mail, email, or fax and (b) attend the May 18th council meeting.
Date: Monday, May 18, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Lansing City Council Chambers, 10th Floor City Hall.
Note: Since this item is not on the agenda, residents cannot speak during legislative matters. People will need to sign up to speak during the open public comment period at the end. The agenda appears to be short, so hopefully it won't be too far into the meeting when people can speak.