Halt 'piggybacked' ordinances, E.C. councilman says

2013-07-27T17:52:00Z 2013-07-27T22:19:06Z Halt 'piggybacked' ordinances, E.C. councilman saysPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 27, 2013 5:52 pm  • 

EAST CHICAGO | The City Council will further explore a proposal that would limit all ordinances presented to the council to just one subject.

Fifth District Councilman Rosendo Cuevas  said there have been occasions in which he agreed with one part of an ordinance and not the other, including an ordinance approved in April that gave Fire Chief Emiliano Perez the ability to appoint his own deputy chief.

Cuevas, a district chief in the Fire Department, had said the position of deputy chief should be tested for and that doing so would prevent the appointment from being political.

That same ordinance also enabled city residents who apply to the Fire Department to receive a 15 percent credit on their entrance examination scores.

"I agreed on that," Cuevas said. "I thought that was OK. But they bundled it together."

Cuevas was one of two council members to vote no on that ordinance.

Cuevas said ordinances that have one issue "piggybacked" on another might be common in higher levels of government, but that he doesn't think that should be the case in local government.

First District Councilman Adrian Santos said he agreed with Cuevas' proposal to limit ordinances to one subject matter, but said he would like to see language added to the ordinance that would prevent any council member who is employed by the city from voting on matters pertaining to their department to avoid a conflict of interest.

"We shouldn't be voting on things that are going to be dealing with us in particular, or our department in particular," Santos said.

Santos said action the state already has taken action will ensure that in the next election East Chicago council members cannot also be city employees.

Sixth District Councilwoman Gilda Orange said there may be occasions in which it is necessary to "bundle" items together on an ordinance and made a motion to send Cuevas' ordinance proposal to a committee for more discussion.

The council approved Orange's motion by a 7-0 vote, with 2nd District Councilman Lenny Franciski and 3rd District Councilman Robert Battle not present for the vote.

The council also approved, by a 7-0 vote, a resolution that will allow Robert Magellanes to operate an automobile repair shop at 4014 Euclid Ave. The property had been zoned for residential use.

The council passed the resolution after adding the stipulation that the business can only operate between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, Monday through Saturday.

"You've got a lot of older people in that area," Orange said. "You have a church that's right nearby."

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