After meeting today, City-County Council leaders from both parties ironed out committee assignments, three days later than planned. In the end, Republican Minority Leader Michael McQuillen didn’t get what he wanted — a return to one-vote margins between the parties on most committees — but he was able to keep each committee stocked with no fewer than three minority party members. (Except on Rules and Public Policy, which Majority Leader Vernon Brown and President Maggie Lewis had already voted to give just two Republicans Monday night.)
The upshot: Most committees will now have a margin of five Democrats to three Republicans, a supermajority for the majority party. That was accomplished by adding one Democratic member to what previously were seven-member committees. The deviations are on Public Safety, with six Democrats and three Republicans; the Rules committee, with six Democrats and two Republicans; and Ethics, which by law has three members from each party. The overall party split on the council is 16 Democrats and 13 Republicans.To clarify, what Brown was trying to do was to change the normal majority-minority ratio so that the Republican had less of a minority presence on the committees. McQuillen is of course right to have complained. Brown was trying to change a practice that has existed for several council reorganizations.
McQuillen's problem is that he does not have "clean hands" to go very far challenging the Democrats' integrity when it comes to such issues. He supported the ourtageous $225,000 contract given by former Council President Ryan Vaughn gave to Hamilton County resident and Marion County GOP hatchetman David Brooks. (Brooks was one of Vaughn's key supporters during his bid for the Senate.) Then McQuillen voted for the 2011 lame duck redistricting map even though the law requires the council to redistrict in 2012.
You can be a partisan yet still treat the other side with fairness. Let's hope McQuillen takes that approach during the next four years.