In what must be a game of one-upsmanship, Wendell town commissioner Sid Baynes used a rule of parliamentary procedure to slow down approval of a rezoning request last night.
Here's what happened:
Mayor Harold Broadwell allowed comments from any of the five commissioners who wanted to speak on the issue of a controversial rezoning of a 127-acre parcel on Old Battle Bridge Road.
After they had all been given an opportunity to make their cases, Broadwell handed the gavel to Mayor Pro Tem Bill Connolly. Broadwell then went on to state his position on the issue, even though he doesn't have a vote on the request.
When he finished, he took the gavel back from Connolly and began to ask for a motion.
Before he could do that, Baynes asked for a point of order and said Broadwell should not be allowed to reclaim the gavel after he relinquished it. That meant Connolly would have been responsible for calling the vote and there was some question about whether Connolly then would be allowed to vote.
The move sent town attorney Jim Cauley scrambling to determine the proper procedure. Ultimately, he said Connolly had to keep the gavel, but he didn't lose his right to vote.
The request passed 3-2 with Baynes and Commissioner Carol Hinnant voting against it.
All this happened less than a week after Broadwell publicly chastised Baynes for his position on growth within the town.
The lesson here is twofold: never give up the reins of power and if you call someone out on the carpet, be prepared to have someone try to pull the rug out from under you.