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Vote set on limiting power of lone adults

Evanston’s City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on a plan to limit the ability of a single senior to set the council’s agenda.

The proposal, originated by Mayor Daniel Biss in September, would require that any proposed policy change have at least two co-sponsors, in addition to its initial proponent, to be assigned by the Referrals Committee to be worked on by city staff and other council committees.

Biss has described the purpose of the proposed new rule as trying to “ensure that the referred items have some meaningful support before they consume a lot of staff and committee time.”

At the moment the Referrals Committee is required to forward any proposal from a council member to the appropriate committee and has only limited control over the priority given to different proposals.

A tally of referrals as of the end of September.

The City Council’s Rules Committee voted 9-1 on Sept. 19 to advance the measure for City Council action.

The only vote against the proposal in committee came from the council’s most prolific referrer, Ald. Devon Reid (8th).

But action on the measure was postponed at the City Council meeting on Sept. 27.

It was amended at the Oct. 10 meeting to remove an option for the Referrals Committee to waive the co-sponsor requirement and then held for action until Monday’s meeting.

Given the extent to which some alders have been willing to entertain even questionable proposals from other alders at the committee level, it’s not clear whether the co-sponsor measure, if adopted, will actually result in a significant reduction in the number of ideas that ultimately reach the full City Council for debate.

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