Mount Pleasant Town Hall

Mount Pleasant Town Hall

Mayor Linda Page thought it would be a good idea to change Town Council’s rules to require three members to agree before any one of them puts something on the agenda, but she softened the proposal a bit Tuesday before it came up for a final vote.

The amended version — which requires only two members to agree — passed by a 5-3 vote after a lively debate.

Councilman Gary Santos, whose moves to put anti-development items on the agenda helped lead to the change, said the ordinance might as well be named for him.

Jimmy Bagwell of Save Shem Creek, which shares Santos’ concerns about development, said its board voted unanimously against the change, which Bagwell called “the worst public relations move you could possibly do.”

Councilman Chris Nickels also objected to the change, saying, “It just doesn’t pass the test of open and accountable and access to government like we’ve been often preaching and embracing.” Nickels, Santos and Councilman Elton Carrier voted no, while Councilwoman Thomasena Stokes-Marshal was absent.

Councilman Paul Gawrych said the rule change honors council’s process, where items get aired first in committee, not on Town Council’s floor.

“Nothing we do here is broken, but everything we do here can be improved upon,” he said, adding that when an item is sprung on council without advance notice, “all of us sit here and it looks bad.”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.