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Council to vote on delaying release of agenda items

By Stephen Betts | Feb 04, 2020

Rockland — The Rockland City Council is scheduled to take a preliminary vote Monday on delaying public release of items being considered for their upcoming meetings.

Currently, the deadline for councilors to submit items to the city clerk's office to be included on the regular Monday meeting agendas is Wednesday at noon. Once those items are submitted to the clerk, they become public documents and are available for public inspection.

The Courier-Gazette routinely reviews agenda items before the formal release of the agendas on Friday afternoons for the following Monday meetings.

Under the ordinance amendment being proposed, agenda items could not be released to the public until the complete agenda packet is sent out to councilors on Friday afternoons -- a delay of two days. Agendas are delivered to City Councilors by police officers.

Councilor Valli Geiger said at the Feb. 3 meeting that this would prevent councilors from getting calls on things they are not aware have been proposed for the agenda.

Mayor Lisa Westkaemper also supported the delay in the release of agenda items.

"In some cases, we have struggled releasing things prematurely that may not be ready to be looked at by the public or completely vetted by the staff yet," Westkaemper said.

A preliminary vote on the ordinance change is set for Monday, Feb. 10.

A formal public hearing and final vote will be held in March if the measure is approved Feb. 10.

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Barry Douglas Morse | Feb 06, 2020 08:00

You know how some words start to sound hilarious when you say them over and over? That's like this proposed ordinance!

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Feb 05, 2020 17:08

Let's not do like Washington and hide the facts. How come as never had these problems with past councils. Remember, the one's that dress in coat and tie and not in less than casual wear. I know times have changed but some of the respect of these positions have gone with it.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Feb 05, 2020 07:08

I agree with the squad let's not make this about limiting public access  rather a way to allow the council more advance access.

Posted by: Joseph Steinberger | Feb 04, 2020 14:31

I agree completely with Paul. It is not reasonable to give Council members and the public such short notice of what is on the agenda. Competent democracy requires that there be time to consider and discuss the questions to be decided. City Hall is closed on the weekend, so the agenda is effectively being released the day before the meeting.

Posted by: Paul Chartrand | Feb 04, 2020 14:05

Rather than asking the public to wait two days after the Weds Noon Deadline, why does the Council not make sure they get a full agenda packet emailed to them by Weds 5pm, after which time the same agenda items would also become public knowledge? Same principle but speed up the process for all parties. A two day wait in this case is unacceptable since the public might not read of agenda items until after the weekend, thus Monday the same day of Council Meeting.

Paul Chartrand

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