Mt Pleasant News
http://mt-pleasant-ia.villagesoup.com/p/189111

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Follow the Rules

By Ron Osborne | Nov 30, 2011

 

Following is a letter recently offered to Henry County print media for publication as a letter to the editor.

 

"The Henry County Supervisors Meeting held November 15 at Mt. Union was billed on the published agenda as a two item meeting. The agenda was not followed. This should be a matter of concern for all Henry County citizens.

The published agenda contained two items: Bill Belzer Engineer Secondary Road Update and, Open Forum.

In fact, the meeting ranged over other  topics that were not announced on the agenda. These included passage of a motion presented to the Supervisors by Mr. Belzer, reports by county department heads other than Mr. Belzer, as well as dialogue during Open Forum between the attending public, the Supervisors, and officials of RUSS concerning on- going Mt. Union sewage issues.

With respect to the RUSS discussion it was known in advance by the Supervisors that RUSS officials would be attending the meeting. This was not announced on the agenda.  Because this topic, brought up during  open forum, was not published on the agenda no discussion should have been permitted. Still, a 24 minute discussion ensued.

Given local, county, and statewide interest concerning RUSS, and the attendance of RUSS officials at the meeting it was important that this matter should have been included as an agenda item.  It was not. Therefore, based on precedent and past Supervisors meeting procedure, the chair should have respectfully postponed discussion about RUSS until a later meeting after the topic had been announced to the public as an agenda item.

This should have been done based on the principle of transparency in government and in the spirit of open meetings law. I hope readers will agree that no one, least of all our elected officials, should forget that publication of meeting agendas and adherence to them is a lynchpin of the democratic process. Meeting agendas are an invitation to all of us to observe and participate in our government and we should expect them to be crafted with attention to completeness and detail and to be strictly adhered to.

Ron Osborne"

 

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