From Hudson Mayor Jeffrey L. Anzevino regarding the Tuesday, December 20, 2022 City Council Meeting:
As many know, the regularly scheduled, Dec. 20, 2022 Hudson City Council meeting was adjourned promptly after the Roll Call and with only 2 Council members present because Council did not have a quorum.
At the City Council Workshop and over the days leading up to the meeting, plans on whether to even hold the regularly scheduled meeting were in flux as updated information became available. I recognize that this caused some confusion and ultimately impacted residents’ schedules and plans for the evening of the 20th.
Several schedule changes were discussed because of a very important financial (appropriations) ordinance and appointment that was on the Consent Agenda, both of which needed to be passed. Delaying until 2023 could have caused an audit issue and unnecessary work to manage, etc. At the root of this was the fact that passing the Consent Agenda (and the appropriations) requires a vote of 5 Council members, NOT just the standard majority vote of 4. Thus, the juggling of the meeting schedule was to try and find a way where 5 members would be present. Note, if only 4 members could attend, Council business could have been conducted, but the appropriations ordinance and appointment to the County Board of Health would still have had to be moved to a future Special Meeting or worse - into 2023.
Two Councilors were out of town and unable to attend regardless. That has never changed. Another Councilor was unable to attend due to prior commitments but was trying to adjust their schedule to achieve having 5 members present (to pass the Consent Agenda and the financial item). On the day of the regularly scheduled meeting (Dec. 20), at 11:43 AM, City Staff notified all Council members that a remaining member had notified staff of an illness that would now prevent them from attending - dropping the total to 4 and back to a place where the Consent Agenda and, in particular, the important legislation could not be passed. Various communications took place on the afternoon of Dec. 20, 2022 between staff and all Council to reconfirm who could attend. At 4:13 PM on Dec. 20, 2022, all Council was notified that another Councilor was unable to attend, resulting in the likely presence of only 3 members and a lack of quorum. In this email, staff stated, “We will not be able to continue the meeting following the roll call due to no quorum.” To reiterate, all Council was notified but only had 3 hours and 17 minutes advance notice, at 4:13 PM the day of the meeting, that a quorum would not be available.
At 7:30 PM, I called the meeting to order, and a roll call was conducted. With the official confirmation that we lacked quorum, consistent with the prior message to Council, past precedent, and the advice of legal counsel, the meeting was adjourned. The Charter provides that a meeting MAY be adjourned for up to an hour IF there is an ordinance dictating how absent members may be compelled to appear. However, there is NO City Ordinance governing how those present can obtain a quorum once a meeting has begun. After reaffirming our understanding of the proper process, we collectively chose to stand by the previous actions taken and had Councilors Schlademan and Kowalski, respectively, move, second and confirm the meeting’s adjournment.
To be clear, the Dec. 20 meeting could not have been rescheduled when a lack of quorum was predicted because a “regular” meeting of City Council cannot be canceled on such short notice without official action. As such, the meeting had to be started and then adjourned due to a lack of quorum. I welcome and look forward to receiving public comment at the Special Council meeting next week.
Mayor Jeffrey L. Anzevino