Most of us can relate to 40 hours. It’s a typical work week — eight hours per day, five days per week.
Now think about this.
In a 40-hour time period that Marion City Council met during 2008, six of those hours were spent in executive sessions. That means 15 percent of the time the city council met, it was behind closed doors.
We know why those private sessions were designed. It’s to protect employees, allow entities to concoct business deals, and provide attorney-client counseling.
That’s the intention.
But doesn’t it make us wonder if more than that is going on when there are so many of them?
Why should we care?
As your community newspaper, we are obligated to be the eyes and ears of the public as governmental entities determine how to spend our tax dollars. We then are obligated to report to our readers, you good folks, what happened — how decisions were made, who said what, and how our elected representatives conducted themselves.
When reviewing the minutes of the council meetings, there were some meetings when there were no executive sessions at all. Other times, there was more than an hour behind closed doors.
The majority of the executive sessions were for personnel, followed closely by attorney-client privilege, and then trade secrets was a distant third.
Following the executive sessions of those meetings in the study, the council took action only 30 percent of the time.
So, what do you think? Too much secrecy? Or is this how city building is conducted?
— susan berg