Open Government – we don’t need no stinkin’ Open Government

Moments from last night’s City Council meeting:

Joe O’Brien made a motion to hold the tax classification and associated transfers under personal privilege because of outstanding questions about school funding (that is, whether or not, as Councilor Germain said, we’re overfunding or underfunding the WPS by $4 million — or, you know, underfunding the WPS by $417,123).

He held the items while saying “I understand this won’t be popular, but I think this is the right thing to do.”

Turns out, the right thing to do only lasts about fifteen minutes before sanity (or a mad dash to the mayor’s office) kicks in.

As Walter Bird reports: “[Joe O’Brien] then motioned to hold the item until next week, which ultimately led Petty to call for the recess that yielded the behind-the-doors confab. When they emerged, Joe O’Brien withdrew his motion to hold and the council adopted the rate, with Councilors Konnie Lukes and George Russell casting the only two dissenting votes.”

I’m not saying that there were any Open Meeting Law violations — the city clerk and Mr. Bird seemed to be checking pretty regularly to make sure a quorum of the City Council wasn’t strong-arming Joe O’Brien — but having a recess to take someone aside and force them to reconsider “the right thing to do” is hardly in the spirit of openness.

(It is, I suppose, in the spirit of Worcester city government.)

And regarding Ron Madnick’s request that there be a civilian review board of the WPD (or at least that City Councilors watch Nga Truong’s coerced confession), Councilor Eddy said:

“Let’s be clear: There is no chief in this commonwealth who has been more vigilant in trying to police his own police force to ensure that it stands for the highest integrity” than WPD chief Gary Gemme.

I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel really good about Worcester, or really worried about the rest of the Commonwealth.

Question for Worcester: Should I be more frustrated with people who know the right thing and don’t do it or those who wouldn’t know the right thing if it bit them on the face?

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One thought on “Open Government – we don’t need no stinkin’ Open Government

  1. […] [21:30] Kevin has some open meeting concerns. […]

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