So, at the last Council meeting the Council approved (by a 6-2 bipartisan vote) hiring an independent auditor to crawl through the books and see what up. The Council approved $19,000 for the auditor (slightly less than a good aluminum siding job on a $2,750 square foot house). Ya' gets what you pays for.
Anywho, the Council did not submit the resolution for the auditor to the mayor for his signature or veto within five days. The Council says, "don't have to, none of your business." The Mayor says, "uh-huh."
As usual, Council President Mantello relies upon her own, unique reading of the Charter. To wit:
§ C-56 Executive approval.
Except as otherwise provided by this Charter, every local law, ordinance and resolution adopted by the City Council, including the budget and except for resolutions establishing rules, regulations or other matters pertaining solely to the conduct of the Council's own procedures or appointments, shall be submitted within five City business days after passage to the Mayor for his/her approval. Within 10 City business days after receipt of the original enactment as passed by the City Council, the Mayor shall take action approving or vetoing the same.
A. Approval. If approved by the Mayor, the original document shall be endorsed by the Mayor on the original document and shall be returned to the City Clerk within the ten-day period set forth above.
Mantello argues (supposedly after consulting with lawyers) that since the Council is hiring the auditor the resolution does not need to be sent to the mayor. Essentially, the hiring pertains solely to the conduct of the of the Council's own procedures or appointments.
While we concede that a third grader could interpret C-56 in that facile way, Mantello should find different lawyers.
The easy hit is that the auditor will be hired to review the city's books, not the Council's books. This is not a hire that pertains solely to the Council. More fundamental is that the language of the section clearly allows the Council to make it's own rules governing its own conduct. For instance, if approved by a majority, the Council could pass a resolution that each Council meeting can only begin once everyone rubs Councilman McGrath's head with Astroglide (unless such a rule already exists as we suspect it does). Much to his relief, that rule would not need the mayor's signature.
According to C-56, the Council need not send their appointments (ie. clerk) to the mayor. What is a council appointment? The Charter sets forth who (or is it whom) the Council can appoint. They are the appointments the Council can make (hence, Council appointments). The independent auditor is not a Council appointment. The Charter does not give the Council authority to appoint an auditor (like it does a clerk and deputy clerk). The auditor is an outside consultant who is hired, not appointed. Mantello is dead wrong and she either does not know it or does not care.
The irony is, the mayor will not veto the resolution because the veto would be overridden. However, based on the Charter, the resolution is dead and will need to be passed again by the Council. That is, unless Madden roles over.
Pat, you need to stop the Queen now. It will only get worse if you enable her.