This is how it all went down last night, the council did try to go to court today to get an injunction and they were shot down in flames. They then voted to keep up legal fighting until they get their way. (all legal opinion says they do not have a leg to stand on) and any attempts at legally halting the process would be fruitless. Below are the accounts in the two local papers.

The mayor marched into City Council Chambers last night and declared his budget approved, then walked out without giving councilors a chance to vote on it.

The move stunned council members and drew rousing cheers from city employees who packed the chambers waving signs protesting budget cuts proposed by council members.

The mayor cited a letter from the state Department of Revenue he claimed showed the budget he initially submitted in early June was official because councilors failed to act on in it within 45 days, as required by state law and the City Charter.

"The budget we've been working on is approved," the mayor declared. "Now, let's get to work," he said, leaving councilors initially speechless as he walked out with more than half the spectators.

The Mayor said he had to do something to assure there be would be no disruption of city services and that schools will open on time next week.

"Every parent tomorrow will now know the schools are going to be open, and I'm not going to let the city council block that," he said in an interview afterward.

"Tomorrow, I'm going to be marching in the parade of the Feast of the Three Saints. There will be police protection and fire protection," he said. "I have made a decision tonight that I'm not closing a firehouse down; I'm not laying off police officers; I'm not laying off people at our water treatment plant."

Councilor NA urged the council to file a court injunction immediately to challenge the budget.

"Well, the dog and pony show seems to be over for the time being," Councilor ND said.

But he and the seven other councilors who were expecting to either vote on a budget or pass another 30-day spending plan called the mayor's move disrespectful to the council as well as the public.

They may go to Superior Court today to challenge it.

"It was obvious that this council after two and a half months and 60 hours of meetings couldn't reach a decision on what to do with the budget," the mayor said. "I thought I was doing them a favor by taking the decision out of their hands."

"Is this budget legal or not legal," Council President wanted to know.

Councilors voted unanimously to have City Attorney research the question and give them a written opinion by 2 p.m. today, when the council meets again to decide whether to go next door to Superior Court to file an injunction or to accept the original $236.2 million budget submitted by the mayor, which councilors voted to reject by a 7-2 vote on July 17.

"If it's not law of the city, we need to take some sort of action before midnight Friday," council president said.

For weeks, the council has been operating under the belief that they needed to either approve a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 or a temporary spending plan to keep the city running. Several councilors said they had verbal opinions from the state that failure to do either would lead to a shutdown of city government.

At a time when the council was one vote short of cutting at least $3.5 million from the mayor's budget - a move the mayor said would lead to dozens of layoffs of city workers and the decimation of programs, the mayor is claiming victory in the budget battle because councilors didn't follow state law and the City Charter.

"The legal effect of the council's vote under the charter is a matter for the city to resolve," DOR Deputy Commissioner said in a two-page response to a request from the mayor's office about whether the budget had passed because of a technicality.

"We would agree, however, that a general vote to reject the mayor's budget would be insufficient," he said. That view seemed to support the mayor's contention that the council failed to act because it voted to reject the budget as a whole instead of rejecting it line-item by line-item, as required by state law and the charter.

Councilors were so angry about the mayor's action last night that they took an hourlong recess to allow the city attorney, to drive from his house to answer questions about the budget's legality.

"To say there was no action taken in 45 days, that's a falsehood," Councilor GF said.

He noted specific reasons why he moved to reject the mayor's initial spending plan. GF wanted an explanation as to why the city had a $15 million deficit in its free cash account. He also wanted the mayor the explain how much revenue was coming from the parking garage and lots and how the money was spent, in addition to questions about revenue generated by the newly renovated Stadium.

Several councilors took umbrage to the mayor walking out on them, an act they claimed was "an insult" and "show of disrespect."

Others said it was a serious abuse of power that needed to be investigated by the state attorney general or the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"If nothing happens, I'm going to call for a federal investigation. They're violating peoples' right here," ND told members of the audience during the council recess.

"They're cowards for not being here now as they're supposed to," Councilor GS said referring to the mayor and his supporters. "They just gave us a slap in the face and just laughed at us."

But the council president said the council first needed to see whether the mayor had legal standing. If it wasn't legal, then they had to make arrangements to get some spending plan in place by midnight today to keep the city from shutting down.

"We can't go another two days with the administration thinking they have a budget," GF said.


Council Grasps at Straws
Legal opinion; Council is IRRELEVANT
Council talks for hours anyways, … again,
refuses to believe state officials ... again
...Accomplishes NOTHING ... Again!
Tries to File Court Action - No Money to Hire Lawyers
City Atty: June 12th Budget is now in Effect
Council has no Say, by operation of Law, Mayor's budget
is legal. The city council whined and complained launching
personal attacs and trying to confuse the public by
putting forth the notion that they did NOT violate state
law and that there is NO budget. . Councilors
threatened to take the mayor to court, while

other councilor called for a Justice Dept. Investigation,

falsely claiming that people's civil rights were being violated.

Little do any of these councilors realize (or care about),
there is NOTHING they can do.... they dropped the ball,
the mayor picked it up, and the state has declared
a touch-down!
game over