After two years, the emergency powers provided to the Mayor of Deer Park have been repealed. In contrast to other previous votes on the subject, this decision was made unanimously and without debate.
The emergency powers gave Mayor Tim Verzal the ability without limitation to purchase materials, equipment, sign contracts, employ temporary workers, and to obligate the city. All those powers are without the standard procedures and formalities which provide transparency.
Councilmember Caleb Stapp stated on social media shortly after last night’s meeting that “I intend to fight tooth and nail so that never again emergency powers resolution is issued without a strong sunset clause. Emergency powers without a firm deadline should never be tolerated in our country again.”
In March of 2020, city council meetings were suspended in the face of uncertainty regarding the pandemic and the mayor declared an emergency, which was later replaced by the emergency powers resolution. That resolution was drafted at the guidance of the Mayor and was voted on by the council when the council resumed meetings via telephone conferencing. At that time, Councilmembers Stapp and Schut urged to add a sunset end date and renewal clause to prevent potential abuse in the future.
Over the course of the two years, the Mayor never used the emergency powers. During several city council meetings, motions were made to repeal the resolution, often with passionate debates on both sides of the issue. Finally, however, on April 20th, 2022, with hardly more than a minute spent on the subject, Resolution 2020-006 was repealed by unanimous vote.
Councilman Caleb Stapp Facebook Page DPGazette.com/yzc12 Accessed April 20, 2022