Paul Schreiber and the Open Meetings Act.
If the worst thing you can say about Paul Schreiber is that he may have contravened the open meetings act, then you really haven’t got much mud to throw at him.
Lets get this in perspective.
The open meetings act is very clear on the type of circumstances in which a closed meeting can be called. There is nothing in there that says “because the matter under discussion is damned embarrassing” though I’ll bet there are a few thousand committee chairs wish it did from time to time.
So, Paul has called a couple of closed meetings, the grounds for which are arguably spurious. The YHC attorney made it clear last Thursday night that he saw no infraction of the open meetings act, though I’d like to see him explain how the embarrassing subject of building code violations comes under any of the headings described in the open meetings act, article 15.268 Closed sessions; permissible purposes. Sec. 8.
I suspect that the attorney is resting on the premise that nothing will come of the inquiry; therefore there is no legal issue (however, I’ll wager that the YHC clerk is WELL ABREAST of the open meetings act now).
This act only really becomes a legal issue if someone wants to challenge a decision made during such a closed meeting (those decisions SHOULD be on the public record). Then there is the issue of correct minute taking, a part of the act that was possibly contravened, and which may present some embarrassment should anyone want to contest such a decision.
So, the legal issue is a non-event unless someone is aggrieved by a decision made in one of the closed meetings, and has the means and inclination to take their grievance to court.
The legal implications do not absolve Paul of the political issue.
It is only a little bit of mud that has been thrown, but the question remains, what is Paul’s commitment to open government? Will he deal with embarrassing situations behind the scenes?
Lord only knows that the actions of the present city council have been directed more from behind the scenes than in the public meetings. It is true that all the decisions are made in public and in a proper and orderly manner, but the votes are apparently tallied and arms apparently twisted long before the oath of allegiance is ever sworn in a public meeting.
I’d like an answer from all of the candidates on that question.
As I said in my first blog, were I inclined to vote for Paul in the first place, this issue would not sway my vote at all, however if I was swinging, I’d have to weigh Steve and Paul fairly carefully.
If Lois ever makes a public statement about what she hopes to achieve as Mayor, we can weigh her in the balance as well.