Much ado about nothing

Patricia Barton’s appointment to the License Commission by Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy will not go down in history as a profile in courage.

Patricia Barton and her brother Buzzy Barton were strong supporters of the mayor in her bid to run Chip Clancy out of office.

So we know the Bartons and the Kennedy Flanagans think alike and would tend to vote alike.

That’s why the mayor nominated Barton to the License Commission.

At Barton’s confirmation hearing last week, she told councilors concerned that she would do the mayor’s bidding and turn back the clock to a 2 a.m. closing time – going back to yesterday, so to speak.

“With a clear conscience I can say no, I would not support a permanent return to the 2 a.m. closing time,” she told the Council’s Interview Committee last week.

Aha, some of us said to ourselves when Barton said that.

She wouldn’t support a permanent return – which is to say – she would likely support a return to the 2 a.m. closing time.

The Council Interview Committee unanimously recommended Barton’s nomination.

Under the rules of the city council, she would be voted on officially the next Tuesday night – tonight- and sworn in.

In order for her to have been sworn in a week ago, the city council would have been forced to claim that an emergency existed, in which case her nomination could be taken from committee and brought to the floor of the council chamber for an immediate vote.

That’s how it would have to have been done for Barton to be sworn in last week.

City Council President Tim Phelan didn’t declare an emergency – and none of his colleagues on the committee did that, either.

So Ms. Barton wasn’t sworn – leading to what the Daily Item described as astonishment in the David Liscio piece which was published on the front page of the city daily the next day.

Mayor Kennedy, he wrote, was incensed.

“In all my years as a councilor, I can’t recall an emergency vote on any of these things,” she told Liscio.

The mayor claimed Barton wasn’t shown any courtesy.

Phelan said he was astonished as Flanagan-Kennedy to read the story the Item published the following day.

Titled, “Council prez’ moves leave Barton stewing,” Phelan said he could not understand what the Item was making a story out of.

Like many Item stories that come from the mouth of the mayor to the Item reporter for a headline, Phelan said he was shocked to hear that he had been disrespectful and rude to Barton.

Further, he said that he later spoke with Barton who told him she wasn’t upset at all and that she didn’t feel he (Phelan) had been rude.

The rules weren’t tampered with last week at Barton’s committee hearing.

The council followed the rules, and it is likely the mayor understood that. After nearly 20 years in public office, the mayor is believed to be an expert on the rules.

For the record, the rule is: Any committee vote always lays over to the next council meeting unless a specific emergency vote is placed on it in that committee which would send it to the council the same night.

That was not done last week.

Tuesday night, in accordance with the laws of the city, Ms. Barton will be approved – and Council Tim Phelan said he is proud to be voting for her.

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