Budget Hearing Woefully Unattended

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“With great humiliation, Maria, please call the roll,” says Memphis City Councilman Shea Flinn on a video of yesterday’s council meeting. (You can watch the 8-minute video here.)

The meeting, one of the 2012 budget hearings, consisted of Councilmen Flinn and Conrad. Apologies were made to the attendees who came prepared to answer the council’s questions about budget proposals.

“We’ve had some lightly attended meetings,” said Flinn in an interview the next day. “To have everyone miss was extraordinary.”

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So where was the rest of the council? The answer sounds like a response to “why none of my fourth-grade classmates came to my birthday party.”

“Certain members couldn’t make it, and then other members heard those members weren’t going to be there, and it just snowballed,” said Flinn. “It was embarrassing. Humiliating.”

Flinn has asked the other council members to prepare any ideas for the budget and send them to him by Tuesday, so he can forward them to the administration.

“The vote that matters is on June 7th,” Flinn said, “but I don’t want to get there on June 7th and have people ask a bunch of questions that we can’t answer immediately. I’m trying to get everything on the table. It’s a long, unpleasant, arduous process, but we need members to participate.”

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