Englewood's city council has big problems, and that means that Englewood's citizens have big problems. Council's dysfunction was clearly demonstrated at the January 17 city council meeting when Councilman Steve Yates called for a vote to unseat Englewood's mayor, Joe Jefferson. No vote occurred because three members walked out.
Englewood's mayor serves at the will of the council (city charter, paragraph 24). With Mayor Jefferson's leadership under question, it's time for the citizens of Englewood to ask ourselves whether or not we are comfortable with the seven people we chose to lead the city.
As an active citizen in Englewood, I am unhappy that Councilman Yates and Councilwoman Amy Martinez felt the need to challenge to the mayor's authority, and I am disappointed by the ensuing fracas. Facing a possible loss of status, Mayor Jefferson called Councilwoman Martinez a "coward," blatantly violating the decorum rules that the mayor is supposed to enforce.
Councilwoman Rita Russell, Mayor Jefferson and Councilwoman Laurett Barrentine walked out of the council meeting before it was adjourned. This political trick denied the remaining four members the charter-required quorum, and Mayor Pro Tem Rick Gillit was forced to adjourn the meeting.
It's disheartening to see Englewood's city council in such a state of chaos. I don't always agree with my elected officials, but I expect them to act like adults and to fulfill their duty to show up for city council meetings and remain for the duration regardless of the probable outcome.
The one bright spot in all of this is the city's intrepid staff. City operations continue normally and Englewood's staff members continue to faithfully serve the citizens despite council's crippling interpersonal relationship problems and the resulting loss of direction.
I urge you to call your councilmembers. Tell them to act professionally and to stop this embarrassment.