Why it matters
For the past 15 years, maybe 20, Marion residents have been polarized by whether they love or hate whoever serves as city administrator. Two different administrators — our current one and a former one, who now is mayor — both came within a single vote of being removed from office by the city council.
So what’s the first thing the council does when it begins considering how to select a new administrator? With discussion scheduled to focus on such things as desired education, experience, and personal attributes along with what taxpayer-paid salary to offer, the council retreats behind closed doors instead of reaching out to citizens and seeing what they want in the person who most likely will be their main point of contract for public business in the town they call home.
As we stated in our complaint to the attorney general, it’s clear — both to us and to our lawyer, one of the state’s leading experts — that the city had no legal right to exclude the public from these discussions. But the real issue isn’t the law. It’s whether the city responds to past criticism by slamming its doors shut or by opening them up and letting average citizens in on the process.
— ERIC MEYER
Last modified April 27, 2022