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Council's Lack of Transparency: 6 Recent Examples of Decisions Made Before Public Discussion and

We've mentioned on more than one occasion that it's become increasingly evident the town council makes decisions well before any public discussion, input, deliberation and voting.

Here are six recent examples:

  1. Closed sessions occurred with "no reportable action", yet the Interim Town Manager appointment was presented in a council meeting as a foregone conclusion (with the "candidate" in the audience and the contract already drafted for approval).

  2. Closed sessions occurred with "no reportable action", yet the new Town Manager appointment was presenting in a council meeting as a foregone conclusion, with an employment contract already countersigned, and the interim town manager reporting that transition planning already was well underway.

  3. Prior to the town council publicly discussing or voting on proceeding with the proposed storm drain tax, the Mayor discusses an already-formed "independent" committee he and Councilmember Wykle assembled to advocate for and ensure the successful passage of the storm drain tax.

  4. Storm drain tax notices were pre-printed and pre- stuffed prior to the council publicly discussing or voting on proceeding with the measure, which the town's consultants confirmed in a community meeting.

  5. A complex land use trade in which the town inserted itself (Rheem Theatre given to MCF, existing owner gets a 4-story apartment complex and general plan and zoning variances next door in return) was fully negotiated and countersigned before being presented in public session.

  6. Most recently, during the 3/28 council meeting and quickly squelching public discussion of alternative and less costly methods of enacting a storm drain tax, Mayor Trotter and Councilmember Korpus indicated the council has been conducting closed-session strategy discussions on passage of the tax and cited the closed session nature to end the discussion.  This would be abusing closed meeting laws and not informing the public of its decisions or decision-making rationale.  The town subsequently indicated no such closed meetings occurred. 

Residents deserve and should demand more transparency than this.

Given the timing of the proposed storm drain tax, they also should question whether an $800,000/year "forever" tax is prudently left in the hands of those who have misspent and managed the town into a declared fiscal emergency, have not explored any alternatives other than new taxes, and who are not honest and forthright with residents to a reasonable degree.

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