Councilors play hooky; mayor moves to curb quorum numbers

Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo has taught his troublesome opposition a lesson and has succeeded in changing local laws on the number of councilors required for a committee quorum, reports Ben Hamo persuaded the council to pass a law that reduces the number for a quorum from seven to three, meaning that opposition councilors will no longer be able to prevent committees from meeting by staying away and causing them to lack a quorum. According to the report, Ben Hamo decided to take action after an opposition councilor deliberately absented himself from a meeting of the city's Finances Committee, preventing it from reaching a quorum and resulting in the abandonment of discussions on a proposed rise in the city's property taxes. Ben Hamo said he had seen the councilor waiting in the building's lobby until after the meeting was disbanded, and that he was "very sorry" to see such behavior. Last week, Ben Hamo succeeded in persuading a majority of the council to vote in favor of reducing the number of councilors required for a committee forum from seven to three (two plus the committee head). The new law also says that if a councilor fails to attend committee meetings three times in a row, his faction will be asked to supply a replacement. "This subject is being raised for a simple reason - we must enable municipal committees to work smoothly," Ben Hamo told the council. He said that all councilors, whether from the coalition or from the opposition, should work for the good of the committees and of the managerial decisions they were required to make. The report said that most councilors seemed to have no opinion about the change in quorum numbers and voted in favor of the law.