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Town Council shoots down term limits
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 06 August 2008 13:50

An attempt to restrict the mayor’s participation in meetings was rejected last week by the Camp Verde Town Council.

Councilman Ron Smith proposed changes to the town code that he said would bring mayoral duties back in line with Robert’s Rules of Order, a set of procedural guidelines followed by many elected bodies around the country.

Smith’s proposal would have limited the mayor’s ability to discuss issues with the council unless the mayor volunteered to give up his or her position temporarily.

It would have also curtailed the mayor’s right to vote on an issue unless his or her vote would break a tie or create one to effectively kill a motion.

The proposed changes as Smith outlined them were dismissed for lack of a second, but Council members Norma Garrison and Greg Elmer made it known they would like to see some change after voting with Smith against keeping the status quo.

Smith denied that his proposals were aimed solely at current Mayor Tony Gioia, but went on to say he felt Gioia was “steering from the bench.”
Smith said that he felt that Gioia had made too many motions during his tenure as mayor, and was using his position to influence the other members of the council, arguing that if the mayor made a motion, other members might not feel like they’ve had an opportunity to address the issue with their own motions.

Gioia argued that every motion was open for discussion and that each council member was free to make their own motions and vote how they would like; he also said he felt Smith’s proposals were aimed at him personally.

“I feel the mayor has abused his right and has been steering from the bench,” Smith said. “It’s not personal, it’s just in the best interests of the town.”

Gioia disagreed.

“If it’s not personal, then I don’t know how to describe it,” Gioia said. “It seems very politically motivated.”

Elmer said he liked the idea of the mayor voting only to break ties, and that it would take the pressure off individual council members if they didn’t have to be the swing vote on an issue.

Elmer’s vote broke a deadlock earlier this year over an empty seat on the council and saw Charlie German appointed to the board after several other candidates were rejected.

Garrison said she felt that Gioia had overstepped his bounds on occasion, and pointed out a meeting Gioia had with Camp Verde Sanitary District Chairman Gregg Freeman.

“If my actions betrayed your trust in someway,” Gioia told Garrison, “I do apologize.”

The council also shot down proposed term limits for the council after Town Attorney Bill Sims pointed out the council lacked authority to impose them.


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