council divided on HRC

By Gus Bode

some favor new council to address issue

As plans for the proposed Human Relations Commission continue to be discussed, some City Council members think planning should be postponed, perhaps until the new council takes over in May.

Following confusion about whether to “table” the HRC – which would remove it from the table until a majority vote revisits the issue – or postpone it, the council decided to take no formal action, leaving the issue open for discussion.


Councilman Brad Cole said the city is less than two months away from a significant election and he thinks the council should hold off and regroup.

“I think we have shown we are not capable of handling this issue by our skillful handling of it the other night,” Cole said.

Cole, who voted against forming the HRC in June, said people are not satisfied with what has been done so far and nothing is going to be decided before the next election.

“We’ve passed the buck for two years, the buck is worn out,” Cole said.

But Councilwoman Corene McDaniel, who voted in favor of the HRC, said she thinks the council should exhaust all avenues to keep discussion going.

“I don’t think it’s something we should rush or not do to avoid facing the issues,” McDaniel said.

She said the council cannot just pick and choose its issues. She said if it can push off the HRC then it might as well table the budget and other important issues. She said it needs to move forward and work out the details.


“We have to be patient and make sure what we are doing will be beneficial,” McDaniel said.

Councilwoman Maggie Flanagan said she is in favor of postponing discussions but not “tabling” them for the next group. She said she is concerned that “tabling” the HRC would remove it from the picture all together, and by postponing the topic, the council can focus on budget issues.

Councilman Mike Neill said he is in favor of a delay to give a different makeup of people a chance because the current council has not been getting anywhere.

“They keep saying we’re moving forward,” Neill said. “We can keep talking about it, but I haven’t seen any consensus where three people would have it a certain way.”

Mayor Neil Dillard said he believes the HRC is a long and involved process and the council should continue forward progress.

City Manager Jeff Doherty said Tuesday that he plans to meet with members individually next week to discuss the various aspects of the HRC and get feedback on what each thinks is best.

Reporter Sara Hooker can be reached at [email protected].