Committee departures

Lee's Summit JournalMarch 19, 2014 

Last year Councilwoman Kathy Hofmann resigned from the Lee’s Summit City Council Rules Committee.

Just last week, Derek Holland did the same from the Budget Committee.

While each has different reasons for their individual decisions, such disruptions in important committee work flow should be addressed at the council level, and soon.

It not only begs the question about who is being placed on committees, but also if we are matching the right talent to the right group.

Hofmann felt marginalized on Rules. And without traction and a voice, real or perceived, committee members become ineffective and unproductive.

Now, could she have stuck it out, fought back and rocked the boat a little? Sure. But, again, I think we need to look to Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray to find the right fit for the right committees here.

Rules Committee is now down to three members, one short of where they should be.

On the other hand, Budget featured five members, until recently.

If you are playing at home, five members on a committee is enough for a council quorum. Such a numbers game should never be allowed.

Yes, I realize we can, per the rulebook, put five members of council on any committee we want. Heck, we could put all eight. Or three.

But just because we can does not mean we should.

Four members on a committee lend itself to a natural transparency while, hopefully, offering a diverse set of ideas and thoughts to filter into any conversation before heading back to the full council.

This is a case where if it ain’t broke, we shouldn’t be fixing it.

Holland was the last one appointed to Budget, bringing the committee to that dangerous level.

Councilman Ed Cockrell questioned the practice at a meeting March 6, and a little more than a week later, Holland stepped down.

He should be applauded for making that move.

Those with many, many years of council experience in Lee’s Summit cannot remember a time when five members on a committee was a common practice.

Let’s hope, with Holland’s wise move, that we recognize that slippery slope we are on when committee appointments are not made without much more thought and analysis.


John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail

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