Some members of Reno City Council at odds over mayoral proclamations
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Members of the Reno City Council found themselves in a heated discussion today about the Mayor's authority to issue a proclamation.
Council Member Jenny Brekhus raised the issue because of a previous instance when she says the Council issued a proclamation to the federal government.
Brekhus says the city charter is essentially silent on the issue of proclamations, outside of giving the Mayor authority to issue one when there's an emergency and for ceremonial purposes. To that Mayor Bob Cashell replied:
"Are you talking about when I did the proclamation for Mr. Amodei about having businesses come back and more visitors come to town? (Brekhus) Yeah (Cashell) You got a problem with that? (Brekhus) Mayor, and that's why I'm making the distinction not on the topics we're discussing, but on the Office of the Mayor."
What followed was an exchange between Brekhus and Cashell in which he accused her of a personal attack on him. Speaking to KUNR after the meeting, Brekhus said making proclamations to the federal government holds weight, regardless of the substance of the specific proclamation.
"It's more than ceremony; it's a public policy statement and it's backed by our relations and our legislative and lobbying efforts to those other agencies of the federal government."
Reno Council Member Dwight Dortch says issuing a proclamation is no big deal.
"It's a proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Reno. It really doesn't bind us to do anything."
The City Attorney's Office weighed in on the discussion, saying the charter grants the Mayor authority to issue a proclamation as a ceremonial practice and that anything stronger than that, such as a resolution, requires the vote of the City Council. Council Members are also allowed to ask the Mayor to issue a proclamation, which Dortch said he has done several times.
Brekhus says a confidential memo was issued by the City Attorney's Office on the subject of proclamations and that it prevents them from having an open and transparent discussion on the issue. She says the state legislature passed legislation that requires the City Council to form a review committe on the charter, and she hopes they explore the issue further.
Go here for a link to the council minutes that show the proclamation from Cashell to Representative Mark Amodei.
And go here to see a list of recent public proclamations from the Mayor.