Public Safety Commissioner Balbone takes lead in standing up for process at awkward Public Safety election. Chair Laflen, a Lindsey Horvath appointee, uses her exit speech to attempt to thwart Vice-Chair Berger, a Meister appointee from becoming the next Chair.
It was item 11B on the agenda, Amanda Laflen the current Chair of the Public Safety Commission called the item.
She then asked staff liaison Kristin Cook for a moment to make her exit speech. But instead of making an exit speech, she talked over herself ending by nominating Tod Hallman, a John Erickson appointee, to be the next Chair.
Laflen did not give any other commissioners a chance to talk.
There was no call for nominations. There was no explaining of the rules.
That’s when Commissioner Balbone stepped in: “Can I ask a question of order here please? Isn’t it typical that we ask the commissioners for comments before the Chair speaks? I think it would be good to give other commissioners the opportunity to speak. Isn’t this how we would up here last time we went out of order and I think you nominated yourself so I would like to ask Kristen Cook, as a point of order how this is suppose to work.?”
City liaison Kristen Cook responded, “There is no formal way of order to do this right now but I would recommend giving commissioners a chance to speak.”
Commissioner Roshay chimed in, ” I am also confused and thought we are going to share input and go from there.”
City Staff liaison Kristen Cook was lost, then commented out loud, ” I froze for a moment.” But the process never got on track.
Instead of opening up nominations to the floor and voting for the Chair the meeting took a turn where there was only one motion, to nominate Tod Hallman first, which was seconded by Commissioner Oliver. That nomination was made out of order, before all nominations were open to all commissioners. Laflen is Horvath’s direct appointee to the Public Safety Commission. Hallman is Erickson’s direct appointee to the Public Safety Commission. Oliver is one of Laflen’s best friends, an at-large appointee who carried the votes of both Erickson and Horvath.
The vote for Tod Hallman for Chair ended with 3 yeas, 2 nays, and 2 abstentions, and the motion was defeated. Hallman stated when called upon for his vote, “I apologize, it’s kind of weird to vote for myself, I’m caught a little off guard here, and thanked Laflen,” and then went on to abstain.
After the motion to elect Hallman as Chair was defeated another motion was made by Commissioner Roshay to nominate Vice Chair Berger for the Chair, and was seconded by Commissioner Balbone. The vote proceeded with Commissioner Berger receiving four votes. Voting in favor were Commissioners Balbone, Roshay, Berger and Commissioner Hallman. Chair Laflen voted Nay against the nomination of Vice Chair Berger followed by Commissioner Oliver who abstained. Newly sworn-in Commissioner Roman also abstained. The final vote was 4 yeas, 1 nay and 2 abstentions. At the next meeting Vice Chair Tory Berger will become the new Chairman of the Public Safety Commission.
Chair Laflen took the floor after the vote, despite trying to ram the vote through, and her own vote against Chair Berger. Instead of congratulating the newly elected Chair she defended herself. ” I just to say on behalf of my actions that I understand the way seniority works in a lot of commissions and continued “a lot has happened in the last year and black people are under represented in the community”. Vice Chair Berger has served for 6 years as Meister’s direct appointee. Commissioner Hallman has served for almost 6 months as Councilmember Erickson’s direct appointee.
The vote then went to the Vice Chair. Commissioner Balbone nominated Commissioner Roshay. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Hallman. Balbone, Hallman, Laflen and Oliver voted “yes,” Commissioner Roshay and Roman abstained. And in a sudden twist newly elected Chair Berger who was nominated by Commissioner Roshay in the Chair round voted against Commissioner Roshay as the only no vote. Roshay carried the vote to become the newly elected Vice Chair of the Public Safety Commission.
After the vote newly elected Chair Berger took center stage to discuss his ‘nay’ vote and spoke to being on the Commission for 6 years and being passed over by other Commissioners who had served much less time.
Berger said: “This was really messed up, the way it was done. The way it is traditionally done is kind of by seniority. When we break protocol like that we cause problems and I was going to nominate Commissioner Balbone, she is also outstanding and she has been here longer”.
Berger went on to say “when you do it this way you are going to cause there to be problems. I have had 7 people come, newer than me and become Chair. It is the representation of the people, I am appointed by Lauren Meister and the people voted her in.”
Some will recall a similar incident last year on the Planning Commission when then Councilmember Erickson, nominated himself to be the Vice-Chair in an attempt to deny Meister’s appointee Hoopingarner the Vice Chair title. Upon Erickson’s election to the City Council the Planning Commission voted unanimously to make Hoopingarner the new Chair.
Publishers Note: The Mean girls ‘clique’ is dangerous to a functioning city government.