What Should A Council Member Know and How long Should it Take Them To Know it.

Watching the last council meeting I couldn’t help but be surprised that councilman Apigian still seems to be so lost. When the vote came up to vote on the first reading of an ordinance the councilman had no clue what the vote was for. He was clearly lost even after council chair explained the procedure to him he carried on. Not the first time for this councilman is “lost  in the woods.” If you’ve watched for the past year there’s been many examples of this. Frustration was evident on many council faces and not for the first time can’t say as I blame them after a year sitting at council. Elected and now re-elected, one would think that councilman Apigian would have learned some basic  council procedures by now.

That brings me to this, how long should a council member get to show they have a basic understanding of the workings of city council? I think councilman Apigian has had more than enough time to know much more than the basic workings of the council. That’s if he was at all interested in doing anything besides showing up to meetings. Looking at the charter to see if there is any type of rule compelling a member of council to have a basic understanding of the procedures of council. The charter is very limited in discussing what’s expected of council members.

Section 6.9. – Rules of Order.

The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall keep a written or printed journal of all its proceedings in the English language which shall be signed by the Chairman of the Council and the City Clerk. The vote upon the passage of all ordinances, and upon the adoption of all resolutions shall be taken by “YES” and “NO” votes and entered upon the record except that where the vote is unanimous, it shall only be necessary to so state. An affirmative vote of the majority of the quorum of the Council is necessary to validate any resolution. Each member of the Council, who shall be recorded as present, shall vote on all questions decided by the Council unless excused by the unanimous consent of the members present, but no Councilman shall vote on any question in which he has any financial interest other than the common public interest.

State law reference— Mandatory that Charter provide for keeping of a journal, MCL 117.3(m),; conflicts of interest as to contracts, MCL 15.321 et seq.; standards of conduct and ethics, MCL 15.341 et seq.; freedom of information act, MCL 15.231 et seq.

Section 6.10. – Discipline.

The Council may by vote of not less than two of its members, compel the attendance of its members at its regular meetings and enforce orderly conduct therein; and any member of the Council who refuses to attend such meetings and conduct himself in any orderly manner thereat shall be deemed guilty of misconduct in office. The Council may require the attendance of the Mayor and that of any elective or appointive officer of the City for the purpose of securing from them any information upon the affairs of the City within their jurisdiction.

Interesting to note the first line says, “The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business.” Maybe it’s time they did so. I know he’s elected by the majority of the voters, but of the majority who did vote for him how many even watch what he does on council? Has he even in the year that has passed sat down with our vendors? The companies that the city pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to for analysis and advice. He can sit down with them free of charge to understand what each company does for the city.  I know newly elected councilwoman Hicks-Clayton has it’s apparent from the very first meeting that she knows what she’s doing. It’s apparent that she’s taken the time to familiarize herself with how the council and the city work. Like councilwoman Horvath said not to long ago to councilman Apigian “You do have to work at it you know.” Yes I would like to see you work at it sick and tired meeting after meeting seeing the same thing from you. There has been that little spark of an idea once or twice ideas that were well thought out. Then the spark dies and we are left with a cinder for every step forward councilman Apigian you end up taking 10 steps back.

While it’s true council members are not paid that much, than again most did not become council members for the salary.  They run for the office to serve the city and it’s residents they put the time and effort into each meeting. At the very least they understand what’s on the *agenda for the meeting very apparent at the last council meeting councilman Apigian did not even do that. If he had he would have known that they were voting on the first reading of the ordinance. Sorry to say  after watching  council meetings for over 2 years I can say councilman Apigian is the worst I’ve seen. I think the voters, the ones who took the time to go and vote deserve better than this from him.

*Agenda packets delivered to each council member the Friday before the council meetings.


15 thoughts on “What Should A Council Member Know and How long Should it Take Them To Know it.”

  1. I know for a fact now that Mr. Apigian was offered these same classes when he first came on the council and chose not to attend. You say, Lisa, that “we as a City Council will only be effective by working together and being supportive of one another.” Perhaps you should tell that to Councilman Apigian. He leaves the impression that he never looks at the material and isn’t aware of what’s going on with the council or how he should vote. That’s not only my perception. It’s held by many. The ONLY way he can change that perception is by doing his homework. He also said that the Mayor’s plan was a fantasy but we should vote for it. WHAT????? Now there’s an intelligent statement. You also said – we must be accountable. Tell that to Mr. Apigian also. I’m for giving a person a chance but from what I’ve seen, he hasn’t earned it.


  2. Hello Everyone! Just a quick note in regard to the conversation per Councilman Apigian, I will not attempt to speak for other Council members. However, members have and continue to work with Councilman Apigian by means which they are comfortable with. Though we are seven individuals, elected each by our own merit, we as a City Council will only be effective by working together and being supportive of one another. For example, knowing and based on my perception, I feel Councilman Apigian can benefit from an Elected Officials Seminar sponsored by the Michigan Municipal League. Therefore, I suggested (and shared) information with Councilman Apigian and he, along with myself, will be attending at the end of February. We must be accountable and empowered to gain and utilize skills which will enable us to be effective government leaders.

    In closing, every citizen of legal voting age has an ethical and moral responsibility to voice their will by the power of a vote. If you are not happy…take steps to change it.


  3. Didnt say Alzheimer’s was embarrassing. Mentioned his reputation in the city would be.
    Unfortunately people only remember you by your last moments of your life good or bad. Don’t even try to divide this conversation into something other that what we r observing. Not making fun of someone. Read, and watch. You took this to a personal level. Citizens need to look at how council conducts city business.
    Maybe you enjoy watching the crap that plays out.
    I need my council members to be on the ball. Our city is really in deep sh–! Separate the personal, this is business people! So Mr or Mrs anonymous, I had relatives with the the condition. One was very high up in a company, and things happened. He stepped down. Cause people only your last moments. We wanted his to be good. You make one comment, and then someone comes along and takes it out context.


  4. Per your post: “If that is true, which I doubt, then his family should have the common sense to have him step down. Save him and them some embarrassment.”

    I can’t believe you would characterize someone with Alzheimer’s as an “embarrassment”! I hope you never have to go through what millions of us in this county have experienced.

    I never said Arpigian had it, but many of the things you are describing do occur in those who are in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s. That’s the only point I was making. Everything you described in your post could be the result of a lazy person who doesn’t have much interest in his job. However, not paying attention, claiming to never have seen something you know he has, or just in general driving you nuts are are also part of coping with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

    Again, I never said that he suffered from Alzheimer’s – just offered it as an alternate viewpoint. And I wonder if you have enough medical background to completely dismiss the idea.


  5. Agreed that Councilman Apigian is not engaged with the protocol and flow of the meetings. Council President Baron should be pulling him aside and laying down the law to him, and offering guidance. If Apigian was going to pick it up himself, it would have happened long ago. I assume he is well meaning, but he is certainly ill prepared.


  6. If that is true, which I doubt, then his family should have the common sense to have him step down. Save him and them some embarrassment. But I don’t think its illness.
    It’s laziness. He has several times made statements that make you think, jeez don’t you pay attention? Drives me nuts. Like the time he said something about wording in a contract that he has never seen before. Ken had to tell him that it’s in all of our contracts .
    Ned argued he has never seen it. It’s like geez , Ken would know,he has seen a ton of these contracts. After a year, Ned should recognize some of the wording. Oh he didn’t read his homework! Patronizing the chair is rude.


  7. It as though he forgot to do his homework, and come unprepared for class.
    What a strain on the other members it must be to have explain the material to Ned, cause he failed to read his homework. Time is money, and we can’t waste either. Its so frustrating. Incomplete thought process and
    Constant dead pan look on his face says one thing. KNOCK KNOCK …..NO ONE’S HOME!!!


  8. I haven’t seen Arpigian in action, but, just to play the devil’s advocate, is it possible that he may be ill or slowly developing an illness? For several years before my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he did some of the same things – forgetting what was going on around him and then able to participate and then forgetting again. He often seemed “lost”. I don’t want to say that Councilman Apigian is developing this – he may just be a really bad council member – but it would explain some of his actions if it were true.


  9. Anonymous:

    Seriously? Have you ever attended and/or watched the council meetings? You might want to do that first before you rush to judgement.


  10. Oh, for pity sakes. All you have to do is watch him and you’ll know it’s not sour grapes on her part. Let’s put the fault where it should lay.


  11. Well try taking away the so called entitlements that some of our residents think they are owed and expect and they are up in arms for more taxes they vote for well this resident has had enough time to start holding them accountable starting with Mr. Apigian YOU THE RESIDENTS VOTED FOR HIM SO GET OFF YOUR ARRSES AND VOTE BUT VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO CARES about our community not just the city but it’s people to see one resident up at the podium all the time [lately he has been quite ] is nauseum inducing as it is percived he is the only one who cares


  12. If what you say is true (and I have no reason to doubt) then it seems that Councilman Apigian is not even reading through the agenda packet. Why did this man even run? I had heard that he was an architect. Is he still working or is he retired? If he’s retired, he has no excuse. I didn’t vote for him because I saw the kind of council person he was before the election. Perhaps those who did vote for him will now see the results of not doing their due diligence. But then again, if they HAD done due diligence, he wouldn’t be in the seat he’s in now. And Kathy, if you’re looking for the council to do something about him – dream on.


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