You just can’t make this stuff up. At the April 14 Glen Cove City Council meeting, Councilman Anthony Gallo took an extreme politically nutty idea right up to the absolute edge. He stood firmly behind what can only be called the “Gallo Doctrine,” a principle which supports the notion that the power of the mayor to negotiate contracts should be taken away by the city council and the electorate should negotiate and vote upon municipal contracts. In this case, Mr. Gallo was referring to any negotiations concerning the possible sale of the Coles School.
When a resident pointed out to the councilman that the mayor only “negotiates” contracts, while it’s the city council that has final say in approving them, Mr. Gallo stood his ground on the Gallo Doctrine. He insisted that in the case of the Coles School, for example, the entire matter should be presented to the electorate to negotiate and then approve by referendum any sale of the property. If one thinks about it, here’s an illustration of just how it might work:
1. Assume that the city wants to consider selling the Coles School.
2. The mayor’s office puts out a public notice that based on the Gallo Doctrine, the public has the right to participate in negotiating the terms of sale.
3. A big tent is erected at the stadium..
4. All Glen Cove residents are invited to attend the negotiations.
5. If 10,000 or fewer voters show up, the negotiations with the prospective buyer get under way.
6. With each voter getting a 10 minute opportunity to negotiate and if negotiations go 24/7, the whole process would take 70 days.
7. At the end, a vote is taken under the big tent.
What’s so compelling about the Gallo Doctrine is that it essentially does away with the notion of a representative government. Other than putting up the big tent and other similar job responsibilities, there’s no need for any government—the people can decide. Just think of the savings on city employees. Fantastic!
In a representative democracy such as ours, the people charge their elected officials with the duty of doing their bidding so long as they, the elected, act within the parameters of a framework, such as constitution, statute or a charter.
In Chapter C section F of our charter it is clearly spelled out that the mayor is charged with the duty of negotiating and subjecting the results to the approval of the council.
So now, Mr. Gallo has a sworn duty to uphold all of the provisions of our city charter, even the ones he may not agree with.
The irony of it all? A few weeks ago a resolution to appoint a commission to review, and recommend changes if need be, the document that governs our city was voted and passed with Councilmen Gallo and Spagnoletti voting no to said commission.
Now, it could be that Anthony Gallo has not yet reached this far into reading the charter; after all, this provision is buried deep in page four of it; or it could be that Anthony Gallo just doesn’t get it.
Taking a slogan from Fox News: I reported, you decide!