Friday, July 18, 2008

Council violates Open Meetings law

What does C'dale's blogging community think of this? According to The Southern Mayor shut off recorder during closed session "for less than a minute. ... Reached by phone, Cole said the city has a strong track record of adhering to the Open Meetings Act and that the infraction is one minor incident.

'This was a self-reported minor infraction and has been fully resolved with the attorney general's office,' he said."

Can't help but wonder what was said during those secret seconds.

Blackwell Thomas reports, "the discussion not recorded pertained to possible litigation concerning Vaught, whose job duties include keeping recordings of city council meetings.

"The mayor believed that this put the city in the untenable position of having a possible litigant having access to all confidential deliberations by the council.'"

From reading the blog post, I thought it was just an accident but from the full article, it was done deliberately with objections from Fritzler, Wissmann and Pohlmann. I liked this line from Mayor Cole: "It is my opinion that it is not a significant matter."

Of course that's his opinion, he's the one that did it. Geez.
On the one hand this isn't very important -- we're really talking about a couple of minutes. On the other hand, the idea that anyone on the council thinks that a law as clear as this one is "flexible" is troubling. It bothers me when a politician of any party thinks that the rules aren't really meant for them when they happen to be inconvenient. Its just the wrong attitude toward governance.

Past that, I'd like to see someone at the Southern discuss why the mayor's actions have prompted legal action in the first place. He publically praised Janet Vaught during the election, but has taken a step towards removing her in the future. Which is it...does she need to be replaced or is she praise worthy? I think the fact that she's suing speaks for itself, but you'd think the paper would at least pick the story up.
I'm not sure Vaught is sueing, I think she is protecting her job. She is a stickler for the rules and as we all know the Mayor is not. This makes for a stressful relationship for these two.
Janet Vaught is well respected in the community and Mayor is making a big mistake if he continue on this path. Even his supporters are saying he is wrong.
I agree with Sam about the lawsuit. The last I heard, Vaught had retained a lawyer but had not taken any action beyond that.
Maybe someone will find more dirt on Cole,and he'll share a prison cell with Gov. Blago when they're done with their terms.

Impeaching the mayor sounds like a good idea to me.
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