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Citrus Heights council restores two-vote policy to place items on agenda

Sentinel staff report–
As an indication of a change in leadership in the city, Citrus Heights council members earlier this month voted to reverse a controversial change made two years ago when the council had voted to require majority support in order to place an item on the council’s agenda.

Up until 2020, the City Council required the support of just two out of five council members to place an item on an upcoming agenda for a vote or discussion. In 2020, the council voted in a narrow decision to increase that requirement to three members.

At the time, Councilman Bret Daniels called the move by his colleagues “Bulls__” and said it was targeted at trying to silence him, in the event that Tim Schaefer would be elected to the City Council that year.

Schaefer was subsequently elected, but remained a minority voice on the board in several split votes.

Now, with a new makeup on the City Council in 2023, Schaefer and Daniels are serving terms as mayor and vice mayor. Two new council members were also elected last year to replace two members who retired.

Related: Citrus Heights has a new mayor and vice mayor. Is change coming?

Daniels proposed returning to the two-vote rule during the same meeting when the council’s two new members were sworn in last month. In an email to The Sentinel, Daniels said the three-vote requirement was “ridiculous, because it allowed a council majority to squash efforts by other councilmembers without even having them heard and voted on.”

In a unanimous vote on Jan. 12, the council opted to return to the two-vote requirement. “There will now be greater opportunity for The People to be heard,” Daniels told The Sentinel.

Agenda items will still require a majority vote to pass, but a council member who wants to put an item on the agenda will only need support from one other member for it to appear on a future agenda.

Porsche Middleton, who supported the shift to a three-vote requirement in 2020, also supported returning to the two-vote rule.

“Requiring three votes during an unprecedented time forced our council to be laser-focused on the solutions that would have an immediate and direct impact on rebuilding our economy, supporting our local business owners, and helping the residents of our city,” Middleton said in a Facebook post following her vote this month.

“We no longer need three votes because we have moved out of the uncertainty of the pandemic,” the councilwoman said. “Three votes was the right decision in 2020, and two votes is the right decision now.”

Middleton previously did not cite the pandemic as her reason for supporting the change to a three-vote requirement in 2020.

“Having a majority to add items to future agendas will insure (sp) that no two  councilmembers can push their own personal agenda,” Middleton said two years ago. “It is a safe guard to make sure everything that is being brought forward is in the best interest for all residents regardless of what district they live in or who their Council Member is.”

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