Monday, June 06, 2011

June 6, 2011 Administrator Tony Cox Surprises Council and Puts Red Light Camera Contract on Tomorrow's Agenda

The City of Morristown's current red light camera contract with RedFlex ends in August 2011.

Without holding a work session on the issue or giving the council at least 10 days notice, City Administrator Tony Cox has put changes and extension of the RedFlex contract on the Council's agenda for a vote tomorrow. 

[If the City is looking for more money, changes allowing installation of more lights and giving more of the red light revenue to Morristown and less to RedFlex will certainly do that]

The issue here is more of adequate time to review contracts and major contract changes. This is not an emergency situation. Will councilmembers rubberstamp this contract or decide that it's good business  practice and common sense to have at least 10 days to review and ask questions about a major contract revision and extension prior to voting on it---not to mention allowing the public to have some input?

Cox is apparently trying to get the RedFlex contract changed before red light legislation passed by the State Legislature takes effect on July 1, 2011.  Even if Tony is trying to "beat" the changes in state law, he could have put this item on work session tomorrow and then for a vote on June 21 instead of pushing for a vote tomorrow!

Tony gave the council only about four days notice (two of those days being Saturday and Sunday). If Tony gave notice to the press, I didn't see anything in Friday or Sunday's paper. As far as letting the public know about this agenda item, the city council's agenda (as of last night) was not posted on the city's website. Maybe it will be posted after this blog entry goes up. Maybe it's not in the same place as it used to be when it was on the front page of the website right above the "calendar of events." 

UPDATE: I have been told that the agenda is on the city's website, not where it used to be, and that you have to know where it is and how to get to it.  Not sure why the change was made, but I am sure that the change has made it harder for people who used to see the "agenda" link right on the front page as they now try to figure out where the agenda is.

Contrast this hurried/little or no discussion situation with the hours that Tony has spent in work sessions with council on signs, mattresses on the sides of the road, and a bust of Mama Bird Johnson to be erected at the new airport terminal.

Even those councilmembers who support the red light/speeding cameras should be willing to postpone this vote.

This is the time for the new Mayor and old and new councilmembers to step up and insist on having an absolute minimum of ten days in which to review a contract or extension of an existing contract--especially when it involves a contract that has raised considerable controversy in Morristown, across the state, and across the nation.

Click here to see my previous post on a recent Florida ruling on red light cameras and the different treatment of violators ticketed by cameras (small fine and no points on the driving license) and violators ticketed by the police (larger fine and points on the driving license).

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