Last night, the Oshkosh Common Council selected a new member.
In a long process Harold Buchholz was selected on the first ballot with 4 of the needed 6 votes.
The process worked like this:
1. Presentations from candidates
2. Comments from citizens (there were none)
3. Council discussion
4. Council polling for candidate nomination
The council discussion worked like this:
1. Palmeri says he would select Buchholz
2. Tower selects Hintz
3. McHugh selects Buchholz
*4. Poeschl asks for a recess to think over his selection - selects Buchholz after.
5. King selects Hintz
6. Esslinger selects Buchholz
7. Buchholz wins 4-2
* Let's talk about the recess and review a few things about open meetings.
A negative quorum exists when enough members of the council have come together to block a vote outside of the open meeting. In this case, 4 votes were needed to pass the candidate. That means that 3 votes (out of the 6 councilors) could block the nomination of any of the candidates.
After Palmeri and McHugh selected Buchholz, they were in effect 'off the table'. However, when Poeschl asked for 5 minutes to think over his selection, he immediately began a discussion with Palmeri that lasted the entire break.
During this discussion, they repeatedly referred to Poeschl's notes. All of this took place off-camera and away from the eyes and ears of Oshkosh citizens.
In other words, it was against open meetings rules.
They created a negative quorum as soon as Poeschl decided to also support Palmeri's choice.