The Troy City Council failed to give President Rodney Wiltshire the authority to issue subpoenas because it only got five votes.
The ordinance was introduced Thursday, and as such needs a two-thirds majority to pass. But, Councilwoman Anastasia Robertson, D-District 2, was out of town and Councilmembers Lynne Kopka, D-At-Large, Erin Sullivan-Teta, D-At Large and Gary Galuski, D-District 6, voted no leaving the majority with just five votes.
If the ordinance was allowed to sit for seven days, it would only have needed five votes to pass. But, since it was introduced the same night as the special meeting called for just that purpose, according to the Charter, it needed six votes.
It did pass the Finance Committee meeting held prior to the special meeting by the same vote of 5-3, as did an amendment setting a Sept. 11 date for when the subpoenas had to be issued.
But at the special meeting, after it was declared passed by Wiltshire, Kopka pointed to a section of the charter that outlines the process for introducing and passing ordinances. Nobody, including the Democrats attorney, Joe Liccardi, had any choice but to agree with her since it is in black and white.
The five who voted in favor were Wiltshire and Councilmembers Jim Gordon, R-District 1, Dean Bodnar, R-District 3, Bob Doherty, D-District 4 and Ken Zalewski, D-District 5.
Sources close to the Wiltshire camp say the plan was to subpoena Mayor Lou Rosamilia, Deputy Mayor Pete Ryan and Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman in the Council’s ongoing probe or two controversial demolition projects and the administration’s oversight of the Code Department.
While Rosamilia did strike a deal with Wiltshire, and agreed to have members of his administration testify without subpoenas, he fell short of saying he would testify. The mayor is duly elected, and does represent a separate and distinct branch of government so whether or not the Council has the authority to compel him to testify is not clear.
Silverman is running in a three-way Democratic primary for two seats on the City Court bench. And many feel the timing of Wiltshire’s decision to re-start the hearings after more than a month of dormancy is to embarrass him before he faces incumbent Judge Chris Maier and attorney Keith Gorman.
The Council previously heard testimony from Fire Chief Tom Garrett, who ordered the buildings on King Street demolished by emergency decree while City Engineer Russ Reeves was on vacation. Reeves, who has since resigned, also testified as did Planning Commissioner Bill Dunne. Others, either employed by the city or who have or had a stake in the projects, also gave sworn testimony.
The FBI, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Health Department are also looking into the King Street demolition as well as one at the King Fuels site.
Code Enforcement came under the gun after 51 Third St. was shuttered for lack of a Certificate of Occupancy. The building, which was occupied for about a decade, was being used as a staging ground for people planning to march in protest of alleged police brutality at Kokopellis night club.
It’s unclear what Wiltshire will do. As it stands the earliest he could call another meeting is a week from Thursday, but Robertson is due back from vacation early next week so he could call another special meeting provided he gives each Council member 24 hours notice.