"No Shows" means "No Business" for City Council
Council members Wayne Gouguet, Tammy Valente, and Janice Miller Stevens wait for another council member to have quorum to be able to hold a meeting.
The Picayune City Council was unable to conduct business for the city when it was unable to have a quorum in place at Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting.
Council members Wayne Gouguet, Tammy Valente, and Janice Miller Stevens were present at the meeting, but Mayor Ed Pinero, Lynn Bogan Bumpers, and Larry Breland were absent.
According to those council members in attendance, all of the council members knew that Mayor Ed Pinero was out of town and would not be able to attend the meeting, however, the whereabouts of council members Lynn Bogan Bumpers and Larry Breland were unknown to those at the meeting.
City Clerk Amber Hinton attempted to reach the two absent council members via phone, but was unsuccessful.
Gouguet, Farmer (back to camera), Valente, and Hinton wait in limbo
Tammy Valente checking her watch just before calling off council meeting
Councilperson Tammy Valente, acting as Mayor Pro Tem in Pinero's absence, waited nearly 20 minutes before addressing and apologizing to the 40 plus people in attendance stating, "I'm sorry, but we will not be able to have a meeting tonight due to the lack of a quorum. Thank you for coming."
City Attorney Nathan Farmer said, "I've been associated with the city in my role for roughly 16 years, and this is only the second time I remember this happening."
The inability to have the meeting will likely force the city to re-advertise and notify the people tied to the properties in question for code enforcement hearings. Additionally, there were people at the meeting who needed council action in order to finalize a real estate transaction on Thursday.
Tom Luke, and his wife Tricia Huck, of Brookville, MD, were at the meeting to support a request on the agenda for the Planning and Zoning commission. Robert St Romain is buying the property adjacent to a property owned by Luke and Huck and St Romain has requested a Conditional Use for the property.
"We came here to support Robert St Romain in his request on the Conditional Use of the property on East Canal Street next to ours. I guess we can say that at least we got to meet our new neighbor (referring to St Romain)," shared Luke.
Huck's mother, who accompanied them to the meeting with her grandchildren, was not amused at the absence of the two council members.
"Well, they aren't being very helpful, are they?", said Joy Enderle.
Last Friday, Breland and Bumpers abruptly exited the council's special meeting that was being held to approve the fiscal year 2018 budget and neither were present to vote when the remaining council members approved the budget..
In the budget meetings held prior to the council's special meeting to approve the fiscal year 2018 budget, both Breland and Bumpers expressed their disagreement with other members of the city council on using a three percent pool of money for merit raises versus using the money to give every city employee a raise. Both Breland and Bumpers expressed that everyone should get a raise.
Breland and Bumpers were also upset about their inability to get the rest of the council to agree to spend nearly $100,000.00 on two items: a fence for a cemetery on 8th Street and renovations to parks on Rosa Street and East Canal Street.
Numerous calls were placed to Breland from others present in the room, but no one was able to reach him. WRJW News attempted to contact Breland numerous times before and after Valente officially called the meeting off.