March 17, 2010

Open government 101

The city's elected officials are getting a refresher course in the Freedom of Information Act in May. The need is all too obvious after last week's City Council meltdown.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

16 years and he doesn't know thr FOI procedure?

Anonymous said...

Your story in the paper today was wrong. You said that "Edward Krawiecki, Jr., the city attorney, told the council after about 15 minutes that they were holding an improper session and urged them to close it down, which they soon did." That is not what happened. He told them that they were straying off into an area that was not germane, and it was that non-germane conversation that he objected to. Please don't make these people look any worse than they really are.

Steve Collins said...

Krawiecki also said they never discussed anything that could properly be talked about in executive session.
"Not germane" is just another way os saying improper. If it's not germane to an executive session, it's illegal to talk about in an executive session.

worthless said...

11:19 - don't you know how to read the article, it is obvious that ward knew what to do because he didn't do what the other's did.
the article also says that this FOI session is to give every elected/appointed person an opportunity to completely understandthe requirements of FOI.
Didn't go too fast for you did I?
Don't worry, you can read this over and over until mommy can interpret it for you. idiot.

Anonymous said...

Rosenthals time is very limited. At best he has until his next appointment. He will never get reappointed. Ward is the last of the good old boy's who is protecting him.

Anonymous said...

Your coverage of this is pretty slanted, Steve. Obviously, the Council shifted their focus when the session became public to not jeopardize the city with any type of suit by Mr. Rosenthal. Frankly, as someone who watched it on TV, I appreciated the Council's approach more than I appreciated Mayor Ward's snippy and defensive comments and the thing he read that he clearly didn't write himself.

Steve Collins said...

3:37 -- The council broke the law by holding an executive session without discussing anything that can be legally said in executive session.
That's an open government violation, one of the few issues reporters are free to police.
On the other hand, the council's motivation was almost certainly what you believe it was. And I sympathize.
What the council did wrong was to pursue the session without pursuing the issue that motivated it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve for printing whats going these guys are ashamed of themselves. Pretty sad bunch of idiots.

Anonymous said...

OK STRUNZ ITS YOUR TURN.

Anonymous said...

3:09

The MAYOR sets the agenda, the MAYOR controls the meeting.

In this case the MAYOR is WARD, who failed on both counts.

Again, 16 years?

But at least he is consistent

Anonymous said...

Steve good reporting the truth hurts these guys. These guys are. doing such a bad job bristol surely looks foolish.

Anonymous said...

3:37...Ah yes, spoken like a true member of the City Council. I watched the entire meeting and I certainly wouldn't describe Ward's behavior as "snippy and defensive"...seems Steve's not the one with the "slanted" point of view.

Anonymous said...

3:09:

The MAYOR didn't control the agenda, the CITY COUNCIL did.

In this case the CITY COUNCIL had been talking plenty of crap and wanted to get rid of Rosenthal, but chickened out when they realized how lame they'd look in the public's eye. They failed on all counts.

Again, how many more years?

But at least they are consistent

Anonymous said...

3:43

Hey Stupid, it is Strotz.

Can't you even spell?

Craig Minor said...

Steve, you're a good reporter and you're entitled to make a mistake once in a while but you got this one wrong. The "not germane" that Krawiecki brought to a halt was when they drifted into a discussion about performance evaluation policy, since that was not what the motion stated. The motion was to talk about Jonathan. The ref blew the whistle on a very limited Roberts Rules violation, not a FOIA transgression.

Craig Minor said...

Steve:

You said "The council broke the law by holding an executive session without discussing anything that can be legally said in executive session."

A motion was made and seconded to add "discussion of the BDA ED" or whatever to the agenda, and the motion passed by the required 2/3 vote. They then proceeded to discuss the BDA ED, albeit in open session rather than executive session. Are you saying that was a FOIA violation? When Krawiecki stopped them it was because they had drifted away from that. What was the FOIA violation?

Anonymous said...

3:47is stortz or cockyane. Both trying to act6 smart.

Steve Collins said...

Before this is all over, I suspect the FOI Commission will be deciding whether something was done wrong or not.
I don't really want to argue about what was going on in Krawiecki's head. I think he did the right thing.
But I know the council had an executive session that never talked about anything that can legally be discussed in an executive session.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Craig Minor, for injecting some accuracy into this discussion.

Steve, you are totally wrong-minded about this. The Council called the executive session BECAUSE this City government is not transparent and because they themselves could not obtain relevant information they are entitled to. That is the real issue here.

wonders said...

3:37 - which means that they didn't have the nerve to do in public what they were going to do in private - their guts were gouged out by their sheer lack of knowledge - bunch of worms.

Steve Collins said...

The "relevant information" the council sought did not belong in an executive session. That's the root of the problem with what the council did.

duh said...

10:03 - fortunately we are able to see through the transparency of your theories because they are all full of holes - just like minor.

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a training session for four years?

Whose fault is that?

Anonymous said...

1:40 PM - LMAO! How true.

Anonymous said...

Ya, thanks Craig, for injecting your own special brand of bullsh$t into the mix. Transparency? Well, it was pretty transparent that many of our city councilmen look like gossipy, vindictive back stabbers with an agenda of their own...and it's not improving our city. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

Open gov in Bristol with this council. They cant even figure out how to tie there shoes.

Anonymous said...

Not one of these people could speak in front of a group without looking foolish. At the next council meeting listen to either Block or Cockyane speak. First you think there going to have a stroke then you listen and you realize there saying nothing.

Anonymous said...

Your correct this is open gov in Bristol. Council made up of complete failures. Calling the local news paper leaking information. Then fail to follow the law.

Anonymous said...

And the council is the breeding ground for future mayors.

self-centered said...

listen to mccauley stumble and bumble away, saying the same thing six different ways, none of which we can understand, amounting to nothing but personal pats on the back, for himself.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the story was wrong. No FOI violations there. FOI class should be given every once in awhile, but that's not news. Got any real stories?

Steve Collins said...

Probably the most obvious violation is that the six city councilors signed a letter asking for the executive session, a move that in itself is a decision. It's called polling the membership of a government committee and is illegal.

Steve Collins said...

I'd sort of hoped to avoid delving into all the ways this fiasco broke the open meetings laws, but I may have to devote some attention to it, if only to make sure everyone understands what was done wrong.

Odin said...

The council members signed a joint letter asking the Mayor to put something on the agenda so it could be discussed in public, and you say this is an FOI violation??? You're going to have to do better than this "pretzel logic" complaint if you want people to care about alleged FOI violations by the council.

There may have been a harmless technical violation of FOI, Steve, but the only "fiasco" here was the way you reported it.

Anonymous said...

Rosenthal will be here when this council is gone.

Steve Collins said...

I get the feeling I'm being baited into doing a story on the violations of FOI by the council in this Rosenthal thing. Since I'm reasonably sure most people can see them plain as day, I really don't think it's worth pursuing.... But keep trying. I'm willing to go after 'em all if need be.

truth be told said...

steve, remember when the council gave a vote of "no confidence" to stortz, could the mayor give a vote of "no confidence" to the city council?

Anonymous said...

I think is obvious that Kate M. wants to get some votes by attacking Rosenthal.

Everyone complaints but no one can point out what he did wrong. There is no need to attack the guy.

This is simple...Arty should tell us if there are checks and balances at City Hall? If so, Arty should tell us what Rosenthal worked on for the last two years and why he deserve to keep his job? Tell us also about the results of his work. These are simple questions...can we get an answer soon?

Anonymous said...

7:07

Right after Art "I am the Mayor" Ward updates us on his GPS monitoring of workers effort and his monthly fuel oil report!

ding dong said...

7:07, ward probably will but not until they can come up with enough one syllable words for you to be able to understand. dufus

Anonymous said...

10:00 AM - Awwww, poor baby. It sounds like your problem is more about you being "NOT the mayor"...sour grapes maybe???

Anonymous said...

No, I don't have to settle for being the Mayor.

Unfortunately, Artie couldn't get much else.

Anonymous said...

4:25 Settle? For mayor? HAHAHAHA. You really are bitter, aren't you? Awwwwww.

decisions, said...

4:25 - settle? sorry honey but you only get it the old fashioned way, you have to EARN IT.
if you want it , get off of your back-end and start showing the people that you can do something constructive - oh yeah, you have to show your face so that people have an idea of who you are - in or out?

Anonymous said...

How was the letter signed? Did the council have an illegal meeting, or did one write the letter and pass it to the next, saying "Sign it if you like"? I think there's a big difference.

on the road again said...

5:47 - sounds to me like the council didn't care whether it was the right way or not, they wanted to look like they knew what they were doing but the proof was revealed - they were a vigilante group seeking rosenthal's butt.
problem for them was that rosenthal knew what he was doing while the council members were exposed for what they are - worthless.
will be interesting to see what the next side-show is and what city council clown will serve as the face on the billboard.