Letter: Points of order and a recent Eagle-Vail Metro District ‘special’ meeting
Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
In regards to the late-noticed and rushed Thursday, Oct. 5, special meeting of the Eagle-Vail Metro District Board (not to be confused with the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association), regarding a rushed proposal to violate residents’ Second Amendment rights to protect themselves, another problem as big as a restrictive “weapons policy” is the attitude of the Metro District board president’s (Chuck Toms) illegal activity and attitude toward the respectful public calling out “points of order” to attempt to correct incorrect actions taken by the board.
Mr. Toms, who apparently has not taken a course in Government 101, violated Robert’s Rules of Order’s mandate that “a point of order may be raised if the rules appear to have been broken. This may interrupt a speaker during debate, or anything else, if the breach of the rules warrants it. The point is resolved before business continues,” according to Wikipedia. Mr. Toms’ refusal to even listen to the Point of Order I raised demonstrated an arrogant attitude. Mr. Toms’ elected job is to listen and serve, not to dictate. Mr. Toms owes an apology for his refusal to even consider Points of Order.
Mr. Toms also has apparently not understood that boards cannot make decisions in Executive Session. That includes decisions to table an agenda item. That decision must come after a public discussion about the agenda item and someone’s desire to table it and taking public input about this.
This writer also wonders about the apparent inexperience of the young attorney who stood in for the experienced Jim Collins, where she incorrectly told Mr. Toms that he could ignore Points of Order. The attorney owes an apology for her incorrect instruction to Mr. Toms to continue his refusal of considering Point of Orders.
Specifically, the Special District Association of Colorado has spelled it out: “Assuming your board has properly called the executive session as discussed above, there are additional limitations on the session itself.
• Limit discussion to only those topics announced in the open session. Do not digress into other issues.
• Do not take any formal action. Do not take any straw polls or ask your fellow board members how they will vote once you return to open session. The public will feel that the public vote was only a rubber-stamping of a decision already made in secret session, and a court will probably agree with them.
As an aside, I remind you that,
• You must electronically record (tape, digital, etc.) the discussion in your executive session, regardless of the manner in which your district keeps minutes of its open sessions, according to the Association. Of course, the public may require a judge to review this tape to determine if laws were broken.
Mr. Toms’ suggestion that people who disagreed with him should leave the meeting is yet another example of his arrogance and contempt for the few of the public who were able to turn out on such short “special” meeting notice on such a topic relating to our constitutional rights. Subjecting those older people to stand outside for 50 minutes without chairs, and then refusing to allow public comment, is contemptible.
This writer suggests that Mr. Toms take the advice given many years ago in Proverbs: “Physician, heal thyself.” The moral of the proverb is counsel to attend to one’s own defects, rather than criticizing defects in others, a sentiment also expressed in the discourse on judgmentalism, according to Wikipedia.