BlogSpasm #17...April 3, 2011
(Current) mayor Gears is not only content with throwing the fire chief and city manager under the bus, but he is now tossing all the other members of the city council with them.
An 04-03-11 DMN article details how the city manager (Capo Gonzalez) and the fire chief apparently violated the Open Meetings Act by “visiting” individual council members to discuss personnel issues. Discussing city matters in this fashion, particularly if a later vote will be required, just reeks of circumvention. And even if the council was not voting on the personnel items, then personnel issues should be discussed in Executive Session with ALL council members present.
Of course, the spin coming from the city manager as to his perception of the legality of this is enough to create a gigantic whirlpool on Lake Grapevine. One would think that at his salary level, he would be cognizant of all the nuances associated with the OMA and be smart enough not to skirt the edges to later justify poor judgement.
But true to form and attempting to garner support from the firemen, Gears stated in the article that the city manager’s action was designed to avoid meeting with council members in a quorum. Ouch! Has (current) mayor Gears already forgotten that he is directly responsible for bringing and hiring Capo Gonzalez? Is he splitting the bed sheets in another attempt to garner votes from those who are dissatisfied with what has been going on at city hall for the last few years?
Question: If the city manager is in violation of the OMA, then aren’t the council members who participated also in violation? Will the council members who have (current) mayor Gears signs in their yard still support him when a formal complaint is lodged against them? Will he bring cakes with files to them when they are in jail?
Finally, Van Duyne really should have stayed out of this discussion. While she stated that she didn’t participate in any “walking quorum” meetings, her memory must be failing when it comes to Executive Sessions. One could contend that it is equally as egregious and a violation of the law to text discussion items from an Executive Session (even while the meeting is in progress) to individuals in the general public! Executive Sessions carry the same weight as adherence to the Open Meetings Act. But then, she like (current) mayor Gears is pandering for votes, too.