Friday, August 21, 2009


TURN ME ON DEADMEN: We’ve wasted the day pawing over some documents so we’ll keep it brief today (loud cheering and applause).

Rather than our usual Friday rant we thought we’d just present an interesting council rule.

Rule #9 reads:


Any person may petition the Council. Petitions and other matters shall be in writing, with at least the name of the petitioner signed and printed. The petition shall be disposed of by the Chair, including its referral to the proper agenda.

Our reading of this is that any member of the public may actually place any matter on the council agenda.

First of all, it only requires one person to sign it.

But by saying “(t)he petition shall be disposed of by the Chair, including its referral to the proper agenda” the use of the word “shall” is clearly an imperative. And by saying “including its referral to the proper agenda” it continues that imperative by giving one and only one possible “disposition”.

Most attorneys will tell you that if the wording of rules, laws, contracts and such use the word “including” to begin a dependant clause, it is exclusive to the items listed unless it reads “including but not limited to”.

Anyone who ever wished they could add an item to the council’s agenda might want to note Council Rule #9.


Ace Harbinger said...

While it may be true that 'the use of the word “shall” is clearly an imperative', the Chair is still given wide berth in deciding upon which agenda amounts to the "proper" agenda.

- A.H.

Andy Parx said...

Good catch Ace. But “proper agenda” is referred to elsewhere in the rules as applying to whether it appears on the full council or one of the various committee agendas. Even if it did apply to “any future agenda” that would involve the same discretionary power that was abused by chair Asing to keep things off the agenda indefinitely - a discretionary power he pledged he would not be abused in the future to keep items off the agenda indefinitely.