With the County Commission members embroiled in a lawsuit over its policy of opening prayer and often being berated by members of the audience on the issue, prayer is heard less often at the City Council.
The last council prayer was on June 19 by Councilman Andrae McGary a few days after the county was sued in Federal Court on the issue.
Council Chair Pam Ladd routinely calls on council members "for an invocation if you so wish" following the Pledge of Allegiance.
Last Tuesday night, Ms. Ladd asked Councilwoman Sally Robinson to lead the Pledge and then give "any other statement you'd like to make." Ms. Robinson led the Pledge, then asked the audience for an expression of sympathy for Police Chief Bobby Dodd in the loss of his mother.
The previous Tuesday, Ms. Ladd asked Councilwoman Deborah Scott for "an invocation if you so desire." Ms. Scott spoke of having "a few moments of reflection or prayer." She then gave thanks for the country's freedoms.
Councilman Peter Murphy on June 26, at the invocation time, spoke of John 15:13 on "greater love hath no man than to lay down one's life for another" and then spoke of the sacrifice made by firefighters and police officers. God bless them, he said.
On June 12, Manny Rico took ill and Ms. Ladd led the Pledge, then went on to the council business. Councilman Rico said recently he favors continuing the weekly prayer. He said, "I think the City Council needs prayer."
On June 5, Councilwoman Carol Berz said hers was "not an invocation per se." She read a statement by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on helping others.
On his turn, May 29, Councilman Russell Gilbert asked the audience to have a moment of silence for a longtime city worker who had died.
Councilman Jack Benson gave a prayer when it was his turn on May 22.
On May 15, Ms. Ladd led the Pledge only.
Ms. Ladd called on Ms. Robinson on May 8 for the Pledge of Allegiance. She led in the Pledge, then, when there was silence, Ms. Ladd said, "We will go on with the minutes."
Ms. Scott on May 1 called on the fire department chaplain to lead in prayer.
City Attorney Mike McMahan at one time often led in the opening prayers, but has not done so in recent weeks.