Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower walked out of Council chambers in the middle of last night’s meeting to protest the discussion and vote on a resolution seeking a compromise on the Sullivan Acts.
The resolution (see it here) , introduced by Council member Brownie Newman, came up during discussion of the legislative agenda currently making its way through the N.C. General Assembly, and largely mirrored a resolution passed by Council in March seeking some leeway for the city’s control of its water assets, water revenue and annexation.
But Mumpower, who maintains that the compromise constitutes a “surrender document,” objected on the grounds that Newman’s updated resolution was not on the agenda or listed in the staff reports prepared for the meeting.
“I think it’s extremely inappropriate to offer a last-minute proposal outside the scheduled Council agenda and I challenge Councilman Newman on that,” Mumpower said.
Newman responded that the water issue was part of the larger scheduled discussion on the legislative agenda and noted that he alerted Council members and media outlets via e-mail earlier that day.
Nonetheless, Mumpower repeatedly tried to squelch the discussion, eventually asking city attorney Bob Oast for advice.
“Are there any formal procedures for me to intercept what’s about to happen?” he asked.
Oast responded that, beyond the vocal protest the Council member had already made, there was no avenue to block the vote.
“What I can do, and what I will do, is walk out of the room,” Mumpower responded. “This is absolutely reprehensible.”
Then the Council member, keys jangling, walked out.
After a short continuation of the discussion, Council held its vote. Because Mumpower did not ask to be excused, Council rules dictate that his vote on the matter, as well as all other remaining votes for the evening, be logged as “yes” votes. The final count was 6-1 with Council member Bill Russell voting against.
— Brian Postelle, staff writer