Dear Fellow Montgomery Citizens,
Respectfully, we must have an honest conversation, with ourselves, about the poor leadership coming from, our Mayor and City Council, concerning their unacceptable decision making, regarding the Occupational Taxes.
As a former doctoral- level student in Public Administration; the following is some of my personal research, concerning the State Constitution, current laws and Legislative actions, when in Session.
Due to the Supremacy clause within the state Constitution, a city’s authority and power come from the state constitution, current laws and the Legislature. The Legislature may give power to a City, and it may change, and take away power from a City. House Bill 147, has passed, and it has been signed by Gov. Kay Ivey into a general law, that applies to all Alabama cities, without a current occupational tax, prior to Feb 1, 2020, not just Montgomery.
Mayor Steven Reed recently stated that the City Council 5-3 vote was for Home Rule. The State Constitution, and the Legislature, has not granted Home Rule Charter Status to the City of Montgomery. A city can’t grant the Home Rule Charter status to itself to conduct local affairs by voting 5-3.
Montgomery rushed a vote in the city council 5-3 in favor of implementing an occupational tax. In doing so, the city council conducted many unconstitutional and unlawful acts. Most devastating was not asking the Legislature for permission.
The State Constitution and laws, clearly state, a City municipality, can’t perform those acts, such as voting 5-3, while the Legislature, is in session and in progress. This policy was put in place, so that subordinate power Cities, and municipalities; can’t out maneuver, the superior power Legislature, while conducting its business.
Additionally, while in Session, after Legislative actions, and decisions have been rendered; to not allow and engage in debate, with the subordinate power City Municipality and City Councils. If all cities were allowed to vote 5-3, the Legislature wouldn’t be allowed to function, nor conduct its business.
Another unconstitutional and unlawful act, conducted by the City of Montgomery; the State Constitution and current laws, clearly state that a city or municipality, can’t create the same subject matter issues, that are in direct conflict, and inconsistent, with the In-Session State Legislature, and current state laws.
After the Legislature, set the date of Feb 1, 2020, the City of Montgomery voted 5-3, to create an initiative inconsistent, and in opposition to the In-Session Legislature. Montgomery as a Municipal City entity, with subordinate powers, in comparison to a superior power Legislature, they unconstitutionally and unlawfully, voted to make it appear, that they don’t have to get permission from the Legislature.
Unconstitutional and unlawful also, by the City of Montgomery, was when they didn’t wait until three months, after the final adjournment date, of the Legislative Session, to perform their 5-3 vote within the City Council. By the way, as you very well know, the Legislature is currently, still in session.
The City of Montgomery also made an unconstitutional, and unlawful decision, by not advertising to the citizenry, through Public Notice, one day per week, for four consecutive weeks, in the news media, or when cities don’t have newspaper companies, the written notices, must be placed on the front doors of City Hall.
The City of Montgomery made unconstitutional and unlawful decisions, by stating that funds received will go to schools, in which Montgomery doesn’t have a City Public School System. Which is outside the Municipality purview.
The Montgomery Mayor, and City Council Form of Municipal Government, was created through Act 618, in which, doesn’t identify any accountabilities, nor responsibilities, for City, nor County Public Schools.
The Mayor and City Council made another unconstitutional and unlawful decision, by failing to advise the public, and provide the specific purpose, and reason for the Occupational Tax, and the Specific place the money will be spent.
Unconstitutional and unlawful, are the wide range of reasons, for the tax, being given, by the Mayor and City Council; being provided to the citizenry; such as police pay raises, schools, placing two policemen in one car; starting policemen pay at $50,000, for those with a high school diploma, and no college; fire department employees, technology, community centers, and public safety equipment.
Numerous recent studies, conducted by behavioral scientists, and drug treatment professionals, are indicating, that society is moving into the direction, of placing more of these professionals in communities to help cities; to be most effective. Prison studies, have stated, that placing more police officers on the streets, are not effective; due to the drugs speaking louder than others; to the drug users. Society is moving toward, drug and mental health treatment, rather than locking up the persons in prisons.
The Mayor and the City Council, acted without authority with the 5-3 vote; and the citizenry were deprived of their voting rights; and they were not allowed, to participate in the voting process, through a ballot, with one subject matter item, identified on the voting ballot document.
The Mayor and City Council verbally discussed, through the news media, the aforementioned, 10 subject matter issues, to the public, when only one subject matter issue, may be placed on the voting ballot. One City Council member, even had the cheek, to mention, that if any money, was left over, that they would use the money, somewhere else. GOOD LORD!
The main points are that the City of Montgomery, and its City Council, must follow the State Constitution, current laws and the Legislature, due to the supremacy clause.
The City of Montgomery, did not do their research, nor follow the State Constitution, laws, and the current actions, and laws, of the In-Session State Legislature. The City of Montgomery, has made at least ten, unconstitutional and unlawful violations, in which their own 5-3 vote will not stand, according to the State Constitution, current laws and Legislative actions while in Session.
There have been subtle threats of lawsuits. The City of Montgomery can’t sue every time they lose a battle. Especially, when they shoot themselves in the foot.
Glenn Henry is retired from the U.S. Air Force. He has been a high school teacher and university adjunct professor. He had earned numerous IT Cisco certifications. He is a Certified Professional Ethical Hacker. He lives in Montgomery with his wife Teresa.