Mayor Orr briefly handed gavel over at council meeting

Published: Sep. 10, 2019 at 10:12 PM CDT
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At the Sept. 9 Cheyenne City Council meeting, an agenda item brought controversy, not from the public, but within the council itself. Agenda item number 17, a resolution dealing with a grant application for a new Fire Station #5 led Mayor Marian Orr to hand her gavel over to City Council President Rocky Case.

“Thank you and for the matter of this meeting I’m turning the chairmanship over to the president for the remainder of the meeting,” said Mayor Orr.

Council President Case then thanked Mayor Orr. Councilman Dicky Shanor of Ward II abstained from agenda item number 17, but upon his return he quoted a statute.

“[The statute] states that the mayor shall preside at all meetings of the governing body,” said Councilman Shanor. He also said it is repeated in the city code. “I would contend that it is inappropriate for the mayor to relinquish the chair unless there’s been a direct conflict and it would be limited to just that item that there is a conflict.”

“So my concern is, as a citizen of Cheyenne, is this lack of communication between the entities in this room,” said James Johnson, a resident of Ward II. “Between the council, the mayor, and the citizen. This comes up constantly in the news and it needs to stop. We need to have clear and open communication between all the parties and we need to have transparency.”

The council turned to the newly appointed City Attorney, Michael O’Donnell for clarification and his recommendation was for Mayor Orr to resume her position and lead the rest of the meeting.

The meeting was wrapping up with the consideration of a bid between the City and Simon Contractors to fill the potholes.

“Actually it needs to be referred to committee and then… Never mind,” said Dr. Rinne, City Councilman Ward II.

Mayor Orr responded with a question for Dr. Rinne.

“Would you like to run this meeting,” asked Mayor Orr.

The pothole contract was tabled and will be brought up again at the next council meeting on Monday, Sept. 23.

“The meeting was quite bizarre,” said Rocky Case, City Council President.

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