Gonzalez: Council "failed" citizens Tuesday
Statement from Hammond City Council President Carlee White-Gonzalez:
The Hammond City Council did not have a quorum tonight. Councilman Leon and I showed up. One councilman called in sick 15 minutes before the meeting. Two other councilmen failed to show, failed to call, failed to answer their telephones, failed to represent their districts. Your Hammond City Council, the legislative branch of your local government failed you tonight. I’m sorry for that. As president of the council, I’m sorry to the 70 plus individuals who physically showed up and many more that attended via YouTube live stream.
Our agenda tonight included 16 items of city business. Some items of particular importance were time sensitive resolutions and ordinances for tax mileages, funding for street and drainage repairs, park improvements and two businesses required to get our approval to open their doors. Sure, there were some controversial resolutions on the agenda and I’m not glossing over them. However, none of those items were time sensitive or cause actual harm to our city or its constituents for being delayed. Besides those items were submitted by council members not in attendance tonight and I’m quite sure there will be plenty of time to address those requests.
The council’s failure tonight will have an actual financial cost to the city too. We have to pay to re-notice and re-publishing the requirements for the millage rates. That’s estimated to be over $1,000. There will be a delay in construction of a bathroom at Mooney Park and a delay in moving forward with drainage on Brandi Lane. The city rented special equipment and our IT department spent over 3 hours preparing for our meeting tonight so that everyone could hear and participate. Our council clerk will shred numerous documents, revise agendas, re-publish all of these items and duplicate all the work she did to prepare for this meeting.
Again, we failed you.... the people who elected us to be your voice. I’m often told that I’m too optimistic, but I believe this council can regroup, rededicate and come back together. We can put the City of Hammond, it’s employees, businesses and residents first by putting politics and personal agendas aside. It’s time to do what we’ve been voted into office to do.