I've now had two calls about a city council in the state that apparently decided to eliminate a
city maintenance department. Unfortunately, this department had one employee, who as a result
of the elimination of the department, lost his job in that department.
But there was no vote in an open meeting by the council to eliminate this department. So how
can that happen, inquiring minds want to know? The council could have voted in closed session
to fire the employee, but they would have been required to have had a roll call vote and to have
released the results of that vote within 72 hours of the meeting. That clearly didn't happen.
And there could not have been a vote to eliminate the department in closed session, because
that doesn't fit into any of the exceptions to the open meetings law. So clearly any vote to take
that action would have had to have been taken in an open meeting.
But it doesn't show up in the minutes. And apparently no one has opined that anyone other
than the council had the authority to make this happen. No one has even, apparently, claimed
this vote happened by consensus, which is a nice way of attempting, unsuccessfully, I might add,
to avoid the requirements of the law that every vote in an open meeting be recorded in the
So, that leaves us with the question of where is the vote that eliminated this department? That
seems to be the question of the moment in this community. Amazing how things just happen
sometimes, isn't it? That way no one can be said to be responsible. Pretty handy technique, eh?
If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Sounds like some of the folks on this
city council need a lesson in standing tall.