DESOTO – The DeSoto City Council took over 20 minutes at DeSoto’s council meeting Tuesday to decide whether to approve or not to approve 25 regular and special meeting minutes that went back as far as March 2021 up to November 2023.
Place 2 Pierette Parker had the 25 items on the consent agenda pulled for discussion, saying, “The reason I pulled the minutes is that there are corrections that need to be made; there are errors. Earlier in our communication about this, it was said this is an uncomfortable time. I hate to say it, but being uncomfortable sometimes is necessary for us to get to where we need to be. I want to make sure I caution the council that when we are talking about the minutes, the minutes are an official record of the board or council’s actions. We are actually approving minutes that have corrections that are needed. I believe they need to be removed so they can be reviewed and should be reviewed at least twice before they come before the council.”
Parker cited the importance of transparency, adding, “It helps when people can pull minutes and understand what took place at a city council meeting, and if I have to stand alone on that, I will stand alone on that, but I will continue to say that minutes should be cohesive, they should be concise and when there are errors they need to be corrected.”
Place 6 Crystal Chism identified herself as the councilmember who said it was uncomfortable, stating, “It is uncomfortable because we have five, four, three employees, and after managing people for 15 years, I think you become a little bit human in the respect of (not needing to coach and develop on a dais). Those things can happen outside of meetings like this. I agree these minutes need to be correct for anyone viewing. I equally agree that they need to be consistent. I am asking that we don’t continue to antagonize our city secretary during our meetings regarding it. We are open to having meetings with any of our employees at any time that we would like to and if there is a standard way that we have never established. If there is a standard way that we want this to happen, then let’s do it outside this dais and get it right so that the efforts that are going into making this continue to happen. We are also not saying how the city secretary’s office has not had staffing … properly staffed since I have been on this council. She has not had the staffing she needed for almost three years. We need to have this conversation, yes, but there needs to be a balance, and we need to offer some grace and probably just come out of this meeting so it doesn’t look like we are grandstanding or trying to put the city secretary’s office on Front Street.”
After Chism’s comment, Place 5, Dinah Marks added, “I do agree if there are corrections that need to be made. I also think if there is a certain way, and all minutes will be different because all subjects are different, but a lot of them are the same. Someone mentioned creating a template, and I think at this point, what needs to happen is that since some of us have concerns about what is on the minutes and how it is written, maybe we could create that ad hoc committee. As far as what we have before us, we can pull it and make the corrections, but as we move forward, to make sure we have something in place so that she can have a guideline as to what to follow so we won’t have to keep spinning our wheels on this particular item.”
Marks then motioned to remove the minutes from the consent agenda, create the ad hoc committee, make the corrections, and bring it back. She added she specifically saw a mistake because she was listed as absent, but she was absent only when the roll was called. She came in later and was at the rest of the meeting.
Mayor Rachel Proctor added, “I am personally not in favor of micromanaging staff. In terms of this, I sit on numerous boards and have sat on this council since 2013. Anytime there have be