[Vision2020] Our City Council and Cell Phone Stipends

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Nov 18 11:31:26 PST 2010

On November 1st the Moscow City Council “passed” the proposed cell phone
stipend for elected officials by a vote of 3 "ayes", 2 "nays", and one


Normally, an agenda item such as this would not garner any public
attention.  However . . .

Unless I misinterpret Section 2-4 (Quorum), Title 2 (Administration) of
the Moscow City Code . . .



"Sec. 2-4. Quorum

At all meetings of the Council a majority of the full Council shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business; unless otherwise
provided by law, a question before the Council shall be decided by a
majority of the members present.

Ref. Idaho Code § 50-705"


Three "aye" votes does not a "majority of the members present" make. 
There were six city council members present at the time of the vote.

Another item of major interest . . .

On October 25th, the Public Works and Finance Committee discussed the cell
phone stipend at length.


In response to a question tabled by Councilman Steed on October 25th, cell
phone records (to include emails generated by SmartPhone) cannot be
obtained by public records requests.

To encapsulate . . .

As the result of an unqualified  fifty-percent “aye” vote, the only access
available to the people of Moscow, concerning public-related cell phone
calls made by elected officials, is the requirement to pay for them.

Oh, and one other thing . . .

The actual amount of the stipend is never mentioned, other than there are
sufficient city funds to cover it.


Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."

- Unknown

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