At recent St. Petersburg City Council Meetings, Dr. McKalip noted that certain members got to vote first and others always voted last. Thus, the people who vote first can control the outcome since they have more power. Since the Council requires 5 votes out of 8 to pass anything, the people voting later are very unlikely to vote for a controversial provision if it is not enough to get them into the “5 votes” column.
This sort of altered voting can disenfranchise 3/8 of the citizens of St. Petersburg who are expecting their council members to vote in their best interests. As it currently stands, the council member is more likely to vote in a way that protects their political interests as a council member. Why stick your neck out for a yes or a no vote when it won’t change the outcome?
Based on this observation, I asked the city to look at this issue and thankfully Council Member Danner has decided to do just that. He says he agrees with me that this creates unnecessary disenfranchisement and makes decisions for votes unnecessarily political. He will ask the Council, at their Thursday meeting, to consider a simultaneous vote of all members. This is the technique used at The Pinellas County Commission and the PSTA. See Council members memo on this here.