Thursday, February 22, 2018

What happened at the Council meeting of 2/20/2018: Not much, General Hospital protected from reform.

At only an hour and five minuets long this is a short meeting and is almost as exciting as watching paint dry. You can skip it. I watch the council meetings so you don't have to and yet you can still be an informed citizen. If you want to watch it, you can access the agenda and agenda analysis at this link.

Following the pledge and prayer the first order of business is a couple of ceremonial presentations. The legislative business of the Council does not get started until timestamp 13:04. There are no mayoral appointments to boards and commission on this agenda and there are no public hearings. Below are the items of some interest:

Bill BL2018-1054  on second reading says that when metro enters into a lease. leasing to another entity a piece of metro property, that that lease must go before the Metro Council for approval and if the lease is for more than fifty years, it must first be declared surplus.This is a good bill. It passes.

Bill BL2018-1063  on second reading is a bill to "require the Procurement Division to collect comprehensive data regarding the participation of subcontractors in the procurement process."  Currently, the Minority and Women Business Assistance Office (BAO) is authorized to collect information to monitor the Procurement Nondiscrimination Program. The information “may” include information regarding business ownership, supplier information, and subcontractor information. This changes the "may" to "shall."  In the past and probably still, I know this program was often abused. Sometimes a White contractor and a Black subcontractor may switch rolls to get an advantage as a minority-owned firm. The White guy may agree to be the subcontractor to the Black guy. Also, I have known of instances years ago, where a man would make his wife the owner of their family-owned construction company in order to gain an advantage as a women-owned business. I don't know if this would reveal those manipulations or not, but it may. This passes.

Bill BL2017-1026  on third reading is a zoning bill sponsored by Scott Davis, disapproved by the Planning Commission. I know nothing about the merits of this rezoning and am only calling attention to this bill because it is a disapproved bill and will require 27 votes to pass. It is deferred one meeting.

Bill BL2018-1055 on third reading would protect General Hospital from being downgraded to an out patient facility only and would provide that  until June 30, 2019 the mayor may not terminate any agreement between Metro and the Metro Hospital Authority without prior approval of the Metro Council by resolution.This is very disappointing. Metro General is a money pit that cannot fill its beds and serves no purpose that could not be served at a much lower cost and is only kept open because it is source of pride in the Black community. Earlier this year, Mayor Barry had a proposal to close General and convert it into an outpatient clinic but got push back and buckled to pressure and dropped the proposal. This bill passes on a voice vote without discussion.

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