There's an inside joke among members of the Common Council, says Scott Resnick, that if you serve on the city's Housing Committee, you'll meet "quarterly, not monthly."
With 15 members, the committee is one of the city's largest. And that makes it especially tough for the group to reach the necessary quorum of eight members in order to conduct business.
Most of the city's other committees have a more manageable seven members, which requires a quorum of just four people.
Resnick, a member of the committee, has found that the joke rings true: The committee has met only twice since last summer. That has left a number of initiatives stalled, as the Housing Committee has been unable to act on them. The council had to take an ordinance dealing with nuisance parties off the committee's plate in order to pass it.
Resnick hopes that breaking the committee into two will make meeting a lot easier. A resolution was introduced to do that during this week's Common Council meeting.
One reason the committee has grown so large, Resnick says, is that the number of issues it deals with has also grown. These can be broken down into roughly two categories: landlord-tenant matters and the development of affordable housing.
"They're two completely different conversations," he says. "And while they're in the same industry, it's a very different mindset."
Of course, one of the committees the proposal will be sent to for review is the Housing Committee, Resnick notes. "Will the Housing Committee ever meet to actually discuss this?"