News and Tribune


May 10, 2013

NASH: Lessons from a council meeting

Over nearly four years of writing this column, I have attended many New Albany City Council meetings. I had been taking a little break from going because of the emotional toll that it takes on my soul, but I decided to return this week. 

Over time, I have learned a lot from these meetings, but this one seemed like I was back in school.

Most of the lessons that were taught that night came directly from 1st District Councilman Dan Coffey. The first subject discussed was arithmetic. While discussing the jobs that may or may not have been created by certain tax abatements, Mr. Coffey explained how average salaries are determined. 

“You have to use the high salaries and the low ones, too.” I am so glad he cleared that up.

Minutes later, we were magically in grammar class as Mr. Coffey explained that he didn’t agree with the language in the ordinance that created the Human Rights Commission. At the time of his protest, they were discussing changing some of the wording in the original ordinance to clarify some points.  

The language that he disagreed with had nothing to do with what was about to be changed, which led to an awkward lesson in astronomy or human sexuality… I’m still not clear which.

He quickly began tap-dancing around a specific incident that had come to his attention that had something to do with an employment situation which could be affected by the Human Rights Commission. In an attempt to use some sort of code to describe the situation, he announced, “what if you hired Mars, and then it turned into Jupiter?” 

This confused the situation even further for everyone.

It soon became clear that he was trying to say that what if you hired an employee that happened to be transgender? What would happen if within the course of their employment they decided to undergo gender reassignment?

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