County Board Changes Board Rules

A resolution that was tabled from the Jan. 4, 2012 meeting of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners was approved at the Feb. 15 meeting, and broadens options for commissioners in voting on resolutions. Wes Prater cast the sole vote of dissent, but there was no discussion of the item before the vote.

The resolution, proposed by Dan Smith, changed the board rules to give commissioners the option of abstaining from a vote. His resolution amended the section on board resolutions, adding the following statement: “Members may abstain from voting on any resolution expressing support (or opposition), but otherwise taking no action.” Some commissioners had objected to the change during a brief discussion at the Jan. 4 meeting, and the board had tabled the item until the second meeting in February.

At the Jan. 4 meeting, Smith did not elaborate on his reasons for proposing the change, but the issue was relevant at the board’s final meeting in December 2011. A resolution brought forward at that time by Yousef Rabhi urged state lawmakers to reject HB 4770HB 4771 and “any legislation that codifies discrimination.” The state legislation, which was later signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, removed the ability to extend benefits to same-sex partners. During deliberations on that resolution, commissioners Dan Smith and Rob Turner had objected to bringing forward resolutions that were not focused on Washtenaw County issues – both commissioners ultimately voted against Rabhi’s resolution, though it passed with a majority of support from the rest of the board.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]