Germantown looks to adopt preliminary agenda

Board of Mayor and Aldermen continuing efforts to streamline meetings

By Updated: April 05, 2019 9:55 AM CT | Published: April 05, 2019 12:49 AM CT

In a continuing effort to streamline what have become lengthy and contentious Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings, Germantown is proposing a change in the way aldermen handle routine items.

Aldermen will vote at their next regular meeting April 8 on replacing the long-standing consent agenda with a preliminary agenda.

The two are basically the same in that they include items that are voted on collectively and without discussion to save time. However, unlike the consent agenda, moving items off the new preliminary agenda and onto the regular agenda for discussion would be more difficult.

Moving an item would require a motion, a second and then a majority vote in favor of moving it. Under the present consent agenda, a single alderman can simply request that an item be moved to the main agenda.

The parliamentary maneuver has significance in Germantown, where moving items off the consent agenda has often resulted in lengthy and heated debate that has stretched meetings out to hours in length.

The city also recently added a parliamentarian, Charles Schulz, to help keep sessions on track.

<strong>Mike Palazzolo</strong>

Mike Palazzolo

“This is an opportunity for the majority of the board to have its will moved forward,” Mayor Mike Palazzolo said Thursday about the procedural change on agendas.

He said the resolution to adopt a preliminary agenda can be approved at the next meeting by a simple majority vote. If it passes, Palazzolo said it would make meetings more “manageable” and “democratic.”

<strong>Scott Sanders</strong>

Scott Sanders

Alderman Scott Sanders said the resolution was “odd” since the board already added a parliamentarian, at its last meeting, to keep thing moving. 

He said sometimes items should be moved from the consent to regular agenda because an alderman may be against one of the items listed, but in favor of the others.

“In my opinion, it keeps an elected official from being able to duly represent the interest of the citizens when conducting the people’s business in our open forum,” Sanders said of the proposed change.

<strong>Rocky Janda</strong>

Rocky Janda

Alderman Rocky Janda broached the idea of changing the agenda process during a four-hour special called meeting in December, but the board ultimately decided not to do so at the time. However, Palazzolo said the board has the authority to change the rules.

“I’m just trying to get it to where we don’t have to move all these things around if just one person wants it,” Janda said during the meeting. “I think it should be a majority.”

Janda was hopeful Thursday the measure would move forward. He said the move would be “fair” if implemented. He noted that he has heard complaints from residents about the length of meetings.

“Meetings need to be more efficient,” he said, adding that an hour to an hour and a half would be ideal.

Janda said he did not like the fact that a single alderman could pull items from the consent agenda, and hopes business will move forward more quickly. 


Germantown Board Of Mayor And Aldermen Mike Palazzolo Rocky Janda Scott Sanders
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a May 2018 graduate of the University of Memphis.  She has worked for several local publications and has covered Germantown since May 2018.

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