EAST ST. LOUIS — After the city attorney issued a legal opinion Thursday saying that the City Council only needed a three-vote majority to change nightclub hours in East St. Louis, the council again voted to close the clubs early.
It was not immediately clear when the clubs will have to obey the change. Mayor Alvin L. Parks Jr. said it probably won't be until June 30, when the current licensing period ends.
On June 14, Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks introduced legislation that would change the hours of operation at the club to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.
Even though that vote was 3-2 in favor of the change, Parks said that motion failed four votes were needed to change the ordinance.
Attorney Mike Wagner was asked to provide a legal interpretation of the law as it pertained to City Council Rule 4(b).
"The language in 4(b) represents a deviation from prior City Council rules which did not define a two- thirds majority." Wagner said. "With the council rules defining a two-thirds majority as being three affirmative votes, then this vote takes precedence over any previous version of the City Council rules or the definition as set forth by 'Robert's Rules of Order."
Parks had argued that four votes were needed because the council was amending existing legislation. Wagner's written opinion said it was moot in this instance.
Council members Roy Mosley Sr., Jackson-Hicks and Delbert Marion again voted in favor of the change. Parks offered up the lone dissenting vote. And Councilwoman Latoya Greenwood, who previously voted no, did not attend Thursday's meeting.
Parks tried to veto the vote, but the same three council members voted to override the veto. Marion told Parks that "the Democratic process has taken place."
Business owner Lawrence Williams, who operates Another Level, said eight people would be unemployed as a result of the council's action.
"We're out of business," he said
U. S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said: "I applaud the City Council members who voted in favor of this. It will help law enforcement. And we look forward to working with those elected officials who support what State's Attorney Brendan Kelly and I are trying to do to make East St. Louis a safe place to live."
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.