A scheduled workshop/committee meeting for Nov. 9 to overhaul a Human Rights Commission ordinance drafted by Ward 3 Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver was cancelled on Monday because Tolliver refused to attend. 

Tolliver refused to attend because of his objections to Ward 2 Councilman’s Tom Herz’s last minute parliamentary maneuver at the Nov. 2 Council meeting to send the ordinance to a committee — for what Tolliver described as an attempt to delay and “re-write an ordinance that had already been vetted and discussed over many weeks.”

Tolliver’s original bill had seen some changes during prior public discussions of the Council and was on the agenda for the Nov. 2 meeting.

“The ordinance was ready for a vote, and all the members had a chance to vote up or down,” Tolliver said in an interview with the Kent Pilot on Nov. 6. “There was nothing that couldn’t have been pencilled in or removed at the Nov. 2 meeting to get this settled and voted on, we’ve done it many times on other legislation.  Herz somehow convinced the council that the whole ordinance had to be redrafted with 15 changes.”

Tolliver said Herz’s re-write would alter the ordinance’s original intent.

In an email to the council on Tuesday, Nov. 10, Tolliver insisted that his ordinance receive an up or down vote at the next council meeting on Nov. 16 — and that his original motion on Nov. 2 to proceed to a vote was still on the table.

 “A motion was made to adopt Ordinance 07-2020 and the motion is still open,” Tolliver said in an email to council members.  “We need to vote up or down on this before we can engage in any other discussion.  If councilman Herz chooses to introduce his own version of an ordinance he has that prerogative, but not on the back of a well drafted, well vetted piece of legislation that has been edited by Council and placed in open discussion for public comment.  This backdoor process set up by Herz is unfair and not in the best interest of social justice.”

In the week following the Nov. 2 meeting, Herz kept his revisions secret and would only allow other council members to see the revisions in his office with the caveat that other council members could not take hard copies with them.

In the video below, Tolliver explains his opposition to delaying a vote on his human rights ordinance.