AUBURN — A review of meeting rules has convinced Mayor Dick Gleason to erase a controversial Nov. 15 decision to demolish the Great Falls Performing Arts Center.
Councilors voted 4-3 on Nov. 15 to suspend their rules, allowing them to take up an unscheduled agenda item. They then voted 4-3 to tear down the building — with councilors Mike Farrell, Dan Herrick, Ray Berube and Belinda Gerry voting to demolish.
But Gleason said a subsequent review of Robert's Rules of Order showed that motions to suspend a group's rules require a two-thirds vote. In Auburn's case, that means councilors needed five votes to suspend their own meeting rules.
"Because there were only four votes to suspend, I will declare that motion to suspend invalid and place the original motion to tear down Great Falls School on the agenda for Dec. 6," Gleason wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to councilors. "This will also give the public time to speak at the meeting."
Gleason said he was unaware of the five-vote requirement at the time of the meeting, but he learned about it afterward.
"I've been thinking about it ever since," Gleason said. "But then on Tuesday, I realized that it was time to set the agenda for the next meeting. I needed to move ahead."
Gleason said the council will first discuss the fate of the Great Falls building in a Dec. 6 workshop meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. A formal vote will come during the regular 7 p.m. meeting.
The building is home to 12 tenants, including dance academies, pottery studios and the Community Little Theatre.
Members of the theater's board of directors said Saturday they would ask the city to sell the building to them in a bid to save it from being demolished.