Polk debates budget vote

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Polk County Board of Commissioners debated on Monday, July 9 whether the county officially adopted the new budget, which began July 1.

Commissioner Tom Pack raised the issue, saying according to Robert’s Rules, an amendment to a motion has to be voted on.

During the county’s June 18 meeting, commissioners amended several motions and during the vote in which most thought they approved the budget, commissioner Ted Owens said he thought he was voting on an amendment motioned by commissioner Cindy Walker to restructure how the county will budget fuel contingency.

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County attorney Mike Egan later reviewed the audiotape of the meeting and determined the budget was adopted. He told commissioners July 9 that although the meeting was confusing and he understands Owens’ perspective on his vote, it was his opinion that the budget is adopted.

Commissioner chair Ray Gasperson, who made the motion to adopt the budget, and commissioner Renée McDermott, who seconded the motion, agreed to add Walker’s amendment, Egan said.

Egan said as determined by the tape, the chair stated that commissioners are now voting on the budget as amended.

But Pack argued that in Robert’s Rules, there is no provision for a friendly amendment. He said an amendment has to be voted on, according to Robert’s Rules.

Egan said that’s why Robert’s Rules don’t fit a small board such as Polk County.

Polk County has its own rules of procedures and when an issue is not addressed in Polk’s procedures the board is supposed to follow Robert’s Rules of Procedures.

Owens said he’s conducted a lot of meetings and the budget vote was not done properly.

“That motion was never voted on,” Owens said, speaking of Walker’s amendment to the motion to restructure how the county is budgeting fuel contingency. “That motion is still hanging out in never-never land.”

Walker said after Owens voted to adopt the budget, she was delighted that he voted in favor, but then felt his pain that he didn’t realize he was voting in favor of the budget. But she said the board asked the county to review it, he’s given his opinion and it’s noted in the minutes that Owens didn’t intend to vote on the budget. She said if the board voted again it would be the same outcome that the budget is approved.

Egan said the board may want to address its policy for future issues, adding that the county’s rules also say a second is not required on a motion although the county typically seconds motions.