Irascible Council in Need of 'Time Out'?

A city council often criticized for its childish bickering during televised meetings is now considering what one councilman considers an appropriate form of self-discipline - a "time out."

District E Councilman Jeff Hogan has an amendment on the agenda for discussion at Tuesday's meeting that would punish any councilman who violates procedures by taking away their right to speak during that meeting.

"In the past, we've had a lot of councilmen bulldoze through and not recognize a point of order," Hogan said.

That exact scenario played out at the council's last meeting, when current council chair Mike Gibson continued to read his prepared remarks into the record after District B councilman Monty Walford called for a point of order.

"The spirit of this amendment to the House rules is that there will be a penalty for that," Hogan said.

Under Hogan's amendment, councilmen in violation of proper procedures would be silenced during the duration of the meeting's debate session, but still allowed to vote on behalf of their district.

"Curbing debate, I think, is a bit harsh," Gibson said Monday, following the council's brief work session. "I like to see the spirited exchanges because it means the people on that council care about the city and their constituents.

"We've got seven type-A personalities and a Mayor who's a type-A-plus-plus personality," Gibson said. "When you put us all in a room together, you're going to have spirited discussion. And I think that's healthy for the city."