On Wednesday, the Baton Rouge Metro Council, suffering from disorganization and low attendance, lost its quorum and ended a meeting to handle the city-parish’s business after about 40 minutes of work.
However, there was no legal requirement that they ended the meeting.
The council heard only two items of its list of several dozens to accept grants, appropriate funds and execute contracts related to city-parish operations. The council meets twice a month for such business, but is about to take a month long hiatus for summer break. The next scheduled meeting is July 22.
Gail Grover, an assistant chief administrative officer for Mayor President Kip Holden, said the council’s inaction puts them in a tight time line to receive federal grant funds used for low income housing and housing for people with HIV/AIDS.
William Daniel, chief administrative officer, said there was also a time sensitive federal grant related to plans for the Nicholson Trolley, that was supposed to be taken up on the agenda.
Neither grant opportunity is dead, the staff members said, but they inaction has complicated their timelines.
The council members in attendance were Chauna Banks-Daniel, Chandler Loupe, Scott Wilson, Donna Collins-Lewis, C. Denise Marcelle, Buddy Amoroso, Ryan Heck and John Delgado.
Absent from the meeting were Trae Welch (who was driving in late from New Orleans), Tara Wicker (who left just before the meeting started because she was ill), Ronnie Edwards and Joel Boe’.
The council must have seven members in the chambers to maintain a quorum.
At some point, Mayor Pro Tem Loupe called a 15 minute recess because too many council members were getting up, threatening the loss of a quorum.
Ultimately, after about 15 minutes, Loupe adjourned the meeting because not enough members were back in the chambers.dof the room.
Casey Cashio, council administrator, said Loupe didn’t have to adjourn the meeting. He could have simply waited for the quorum return to the room.
There is no legal requirement to adjourn when the quorum is lost. However, the council can’t vote or take official action until there is a quorum.
“Hewas not legally required to adjourn,” Parish Attorney Lea Anne Batson said in 2011 after the council lost its quorum. “He could have waited for a few minutes.”