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Status of the veto was a main topic at the City Council Workshop

While the Employee Manual was the main topic of discussion of the Wednesday City Council Workshop, the council also used the opportunity to talk about what will be on the March Agenda for the Regular Session.

Councilman Vincen Bradford of Dist. C. took this as an opportunity to address an issue that he had with how the recent veto regarding the REC Center Memorial sign was handled.  “When he vetoed the removal of the sign at the recreation complex. The statement he read does not coincide with this. It was for an ordinance. Where he said he had to have two-thirds that’s for an ordinance. Not for a motion,” said Bradford.

City Attorney Charles Minifield gave his input on the matter as well. “The last time when the motion was vetoed. The reason why it was vetoed was because it was not an ordinance,” said Minifield. “It was an act,” added Minden Mayor Terry Gardner.

“It still doesn’t matter. You can’t veto. You call it an act because of the old code,” said Minifield. “The charter,” added Gardner.

“The old charter. But you can’t jump from the Larson to the Old Charter. You couldn’t veto it. That was the problem,” said Minifield. “That was your opinion,” responded Gardner.

“That’s the law,” said Minifield. “I told y’all that the veto should’ve stayed set aside because what you vetoed you couldn’t veto. You vetoed a resolution, not an ordinance or an act. As a result of that, your veto should’ve been set aside.”

Minifield then brought up another issue that he saw with the veto and the following vote. “Even assuming it was an ordinance, this lady here couldn’t vote, said Minefield referring to Councilman Pam Bloxom. “Why not? Because she was a part of the act itself.”

Bloxom replied, “The only time I cannot vote is when I receive monetary gain from my vote.”  “Well, that was the gain,” said Minifield.

“I paid Charles, How could I be getting anything?” asked Bloxom.

At this point, Minifield transitioned the topic to the fact that the veto shouldn’t have even gone to a council vote in the first place. “Well, first of all, it shouldn’t have even gone to the council for a vote,” said Minifield “The point is, whatever you want to call it, you want to call it an act, you couldn’t veto it.”

Administrative Secretary Wanda Pittman stated, “I thought you told us to put it back on the agenda because they had the right to overturn it.” Gardner added, “That’s what you told us to do, so we just did exactly what our city attorney told us to do.”

Minifield then argued that he did tell them to put it on the agenda, but because the law requires them to do so. “No, the law tells you that. It didn’t tell you to veto something, that’s not the end of it. So you had to put it back on the agenda. Don’t say I told you to put it back on the agenda. I told you to put it back on the agenda because it had to go back on the agenda,” said Minifield. 

“Just because you vetoed something doesn’t mean it’s the end of it. The veto can be challenged. So when you put it back on the docket to be challenged, then we inform the court, the council, that what you vetoed was not anything that could be vetoed. When you veto something it has to be a law or a rule. But what you vetoed was neither one. It wasn’t a rule, it wasn’t an act, or a set of directions or anything, and that’s where a veto comes in,” said Minifield. 

“I appreciate your opinion,” said Gardner. 

“Thank you,” replied Minifield.

Near the end of the discussion, Minifield surmised his issue with the fact that the veto is in a sort of limbo. “My problem here is this. We see ourselves sitting here with something vetoed that hasn’t been settled yet,” said Minifield.

Gardner emphasized that the agenda item that they were referring to was simply to officially declare the minutes of the last meeting and that the changes Minifield wants to address weren’t something that could be enacted with the item, but if Minifield thinks that he did something wrong, then he should take more drastic measures. 

“That’s just the minutes, and I know you want to keep the veto alive. But the only way you’re going to keep it alive is to sue me so why don’t you go ahead and do that. We’re here to approve the minutes. Yes or no,” said Gardner.

Before the discussion ended Minifield tried to bring up another issue. “No, there was another issue in the meeting. The other issue in the meeting was that the veto should be set aside,” said Minifield. “But that’s not what happened in the meeting,” said Gardner. “I know,” said Minifield. “So they posted the minutes, that ‘s what we’re approving on is the minutes, exactly what happened,” said Gardner.

They didn’t officially declare that it would be on next month’s City Council agenda, nor did Minifield say anything that made it seem as though he was eager to sue the Mayor, so only time will tell how the veto in supposed limbo gets resolved.