Two ordinances that would have enacted new procedures for how Bexley City Council conducts business failed to receive the support of the majority of the legislative body.

In a 6-1 vote Nov. 12, members rejected Ordinance 32-19, which would have required any change to council rules or procedures to undergo three public readings and be approved by a majority vote.

In a 5-2 vote Nov. 12, members failed to approve Ordinance 33-19, which would have amended the ethics ordinance council adopted last year to say "all council members should participate fully in City Council meetings and other meetings in which city business is discussed."

Ordinance 33-19 also proposed that council members should "maintain appropriate relationships with other council members and between council members and all city personnel."

Councilman Tim Madison introduced both ordinances. He cast the only vote in favor of Ordinance 32-19, and he and councilwoman Mary Gottesman cast the only two votes in favor of Ordinance 33-19. Council President Lori Ann Feibel and members Monique Lampke, Troy Markham, Steve Keyes and Richard Sharp voted against both ordinances.

Madison said he introduced Ordinance 33-19 to ensure council members would make their best efforts to attend meetings in person, including planning meetings that are held a day or two before official council meetings.

"Council is a job that requires the time necessary to do it right," Madison said.

He said he also wanted to ensure council members refrain from any inappropriate relationships with city administration. Gottesman said she voted for Ordinance 33-19 to ensure that council members cast votes without undue influence from the city administration.

If a council member were to engage in an inappropriate relationship with a city staff member, "it's not appropriate for them to be voting on salary or staff," Gottesman said.

Madison said he introduced the ordinances to oppose the three-minute limit on comments by council members and the public at council meetings that Feibel established in her role as president. She introduced the three-minute rule for council members last fall and the three-minute rule for public comment earlier this year.

Madison said Ordinance 32-19 was designed to ensure all council members could offer adequate input about procedures, rather than having them be solely at the discretion of the president.

"I have watched Bexley City Council presidents preside over meetings for the past 40 years," Madison said, noting he had served as president for two years before Feibel assumed the post in January 2017. "In my experience, council presidents have always asked for input from council."

Although Feibel and other council members offered no comment when casting their votes on Ordinance 32-19, council discussed the issue of time limits for comments by council and the public at a Sept. 24 meeting.

Feibel said council members voted 6-1 to approve the three-minute limit March 12, with Madison casting the only dissenting vote.

"My hope is that by insisting that remarks be kept planned and precise, others are able to join our meeting and share their thoughts," Feibel said.

She said the city's newly formed Charter Review Commission can choose to take up the issue of time limits for speakers at council meetings. The commission convened earlier this month to review all aspects of the city's charter; it meets at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, 2199 E. Main St.

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