Late yesterday afternoon I learned that City Council President Joe Camara has called for a special meeting of the Fall River City Council for this Friday at 1PM.
The purpose of this special meeting is for the council to vote to change the Fire Chief from a civil service position to a contract position that would be appointed by the Mayor and ratified by the City Council.
The Council was certainly poised to adopt this during Tuesday's meeting but a procedural objection by Councilor Steve Camara halted that effort. Without a doubt Steve Camara's objection is a delay tactic but it's a delay tactic allowed under council rules. A councilor is allowed such an objection to allot for time to study the issue. Now, Councilor Steve was probably hoping that a delay to the next council meeting would allow him some time to convince some of his fellow councilors to his way of thinking. He probably was also hoping that 2 weeks would be enough time for the momentum of public opinion to work its magic.
Now Council President Camara is rushing this 'special meeting' because 2 weeks is just too darn long! What's the rush Joe?
This whole topic failed to really catch my attention but the more I've heard, the more I've read the more I'm convinced that this is not a decision to rush. Changing the Fire Chief to a contract position either makes this position more accountable or more political. If Steve Camara's actions was to bide for more time well then Joe Camara's actions seem to fear the result of that. A special meeting seems hasty in light of the next regular meeting being just two weeks away. More than that though a special meeting denies the public additional time for comment. President Camara's tactic here seems to be nothing more than an effort to railroad the wishes of the Mayor through. It borders on cowardice.
This decision could have far reaching effects (as hinted upon in Fall River Community's excellent post on the subject!) and deserves serious consideration, discussion and debate. Rushing this vote accomplishes none of that.