Anti-discrimination law heading back to Carmel City Council with slight changes
By Sam Elliott
Carmel’s Finance, Administration and Rules Committee voted to send the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance back to the full City Council after a pair of changes made during a special meeting Oct. 1.
Should the City Council approve the ordinance, first-time violators will be issued a warning as a means of education instead of immediately being eligible for a fine of as much as $500 for a first occurrence.
That motion was approved by the committee — which includes Sue Finkam, Carol Schleif, Eric Seidensticker and chairperson Luci Snyder — by a 3-1 vote.
The committee unanimously agreed to have Carmel City Attorney Doug Haney include language in the ordinance instructing the public of the procedures for filing a grievance.
A third motion ended in a 2-2 draw without passing but could be addressed again in the future in front of the entire City Council. It concerned striking the words “each day” from the ordinance to result in violators being fined per each individual occurrence of discrimination rather than repeatedly on a daily basis.
“It reads specifically ‘for each such violation, each act of discrimination against the person and each day,’” Finkam said.
The argument presented for leaving the ‘each day’ wording in the ordinance was that the extra clarification gave the ordinance more power and that any fine would come at Haney’s discretion anyway.
When it came time to vote on sending the ordinance back to the full City Council — which has its next meeting Oct. 5 — Seidensticker said he would still not vote for the ordinance after the pair of changes discussed.
“This is going to make its way back to [City] Council one way or the other,” Seidensticker said. “If this makes it back with a positive recommendation with these proposed amendments, it suggests to the full council that everybody here is in favor of this ordinance as it stands with the proposed amendments. I am not.”
Seidensticker made the motion to send the ordinance back to City Council but was the only one to vote against it as it was approved 3-1.
“I still won’t vote for this in its form,” he said. “I believe that it doesn’t satisfy the first amendment [of the constitution]. Although what happens at committee and the proposed amendments will certainly be brought up at [City] Council, I will not be voting in favor of sending this back to the council with a positive recommendation.”