At last week's Hoboken Housing Authority, commissioner Dave Mello posed a simple question to the HHA legal counsel Charles Daglian. Can the HHA board move to suspend the agenda?
Suspending the agenda, a common practice under public and private boards governed by Robert's Rules of Order is done for numerous reasons: to allow public speakers, to introduce a new resolution or make changes to the existing agenda based on the (majority) will of the body.
Except here, it's not so clear. Daglian begins answering the question by saying, "You can not..." stops himself and begins a non-answer talking about the Chair setting the agenda for the meeting. It's not a coherent legal reply to the question.
This would be Daglian's first refusal to directly answer a simple procedural question.
HHA commissioner Eduardo Gonzalez later follows and asks if at the next meeting the majority wishes to introduce a resolution, can they do so? Daglian declines once again to answer the simple question and cloaks answers on the matter(s) saying he won't render an "advisory" opinion, agree or disagree.
But there's no new legal opinion of any kind required on introducing a resolution to the floor. It's been done in HHA meetings this past year and it certainly can be again - if a majority approves and votes on any motion to do so.
How is it possible Charles Daglian believes a legal "advisory" opinion is needed before doing so? Daglian gives the game away by talking about "putting" said resolution "into committee," re: burying it.
No one asked Charles Daglian how to bury a resolution into a committee. Chairman Rob Davis interjects in the video after coaching by Carmelo Garcia saying he'll put the resolution in question into committee.
Talking Ed Note: The next HHA meeting will be tortured and Charles Daglian will have a very difficult time aiding Carmelo Garcia in any "advisory opinion" preventing a board majority from making legal motions, introducing resolutions and/or suspending the agenda.
Any motion would require at least four votes among commissioners Davis, Gonzalez, Rodriquez, Mello, Burrell, Wefer and Sanford. No affirmative vote can be expected among the first three listed here.
Stand down Mr. Daglian. There's no need for additional legal embarrassment as this or allowing the folly of criminal charges threatened against commissioners who don't vote seeing your legal counsel contract renewed as occurred last February.
HUD called that action "legally flawed." Any repeat will surely lead to additional HUD intervention or worse.