Marc on Transparency
From the 03/21/2017 Team Tiritilli Newsletter:
The Town's Public Comment Policy
As most of you probably know by now, late last week the Attorney General (AG) got back to the Town about the 45-day policy, stating that it was illegal. Plenty of details about this can be found in various Pantagraph and other articles. Chris Koos and some of the rest of the Council have stated that their efforts just prior to the ruling were not motivated by politics, but Marc noted the following:
It is very clear from previous comments by members of the Town Council and by Mr. Day's [counsel] strenuous defense of the 45-day rule to the AG that there was no interest in changing the policy despite its admittedly questionable legality. Mr. Koos stated he was "pretty annoyed" by Representative Andersson's proposed legislation to eliminate the practice altogether. It should also be noted that I requested to speak at the March 6 council meeting and was refused by Mr. Koos because of the 45-day rule, even though he knew he was going to call for changes that very night.
You can see that members of the Council and the Mayor, in spite of hearing protests from several members of the community, had solidly defended the policy right up until there was pending state legislation. Then came the AG ruling. And then, in Monday night's Council meeting, Council members explained at length that the new amended policy came about because "there has been public input" and highlighted how they were very active in listening to the questions and concerns of members of the community. One of the Council members stated that the public concern was the real reason the policy was amended Monday night.
But if that were true, then why did they not actively take this step back in December when the issue was brought to them? It seems that the Andersson move and the pending AG ruling lit a fire under this action. If you dig back into the Pantagraph articles and past Council meeting recordings, you can read and hear their statements, which are very different than those they are making now.
In addition, they miss a key point...public comments in Council meetings go on record. Phone calls, emails, and casual conversations do not. They have tried to skirt this issue by depicting this as a communication-type concern, but this misses the point of having one's concerns stated publicly so that they may be broadly heard. And hence, several members of our community question why they might not wish to have community comments on record.
Here are a few links you can review for reference:
- Marc's post, with a link to the Steve Vogel opinion column: https://www.facebook.com/MarcTforMayor/posts/1122725284498361
- The recording of the Town Council Meeting on Monday, March 20: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyBltH9p8Hw
- Pantagraph article "Normal council loosens public comment policy": http://www.pantagraph.com/news/normal-council-loosens-public-comment-policy/article_2d2b61ab-0e87-507e-9f29-59363f3cc57e.html
- WGLT Sound Ideas for 03/07/2017--at about minute 21:00, Koos states that he is annoyed at the Andersson legislation piece: http://wglt.org/post/glts-sound-ideas-3717