Lawrence County Council denies request to allow Janie Craig Chenault to appear electronically during budget hearings

LAWRENCE COUNTY – The Lawrence County Council denied council member Janie Craig Chenault’s request to attend the final run-through of the budget hearings via video.

Janie Craig Chenault

Chenault made the request as she felt it important for her to be involved with the final run through of the budget hearing process, but will be unable to attend due to a conference she had already committed to attending months prior.

Lawrence County Council Attorney Katie Simon drafted a resolution that would allow Chenault to attend the meeting by Zoom. However, if there were any votes on the budget during the meeting state law requires a roll call vote to ensure each vote was attributed correctly.

County council members were reluctant to allow this during the budget hearings especially if certain line items needed to be voted on. They felt it would slow the process down, especially on an evening that may require council members to cut budgets from several departments.

A similar issue arose with the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, where Governor Holcomb approved the means to meet electronically, to help stop the spread of the virus. However, once the state of emergency was lifted, this resolution had been removed, indicating the importance of the governing body being physically present.

The council did not make a motion to vote on the request, and it died on the floor for a lack of motion.