From: Kenneth Fudge
I have often attended City Council meetings here in Columbus. I am concerned about one observation that I have made in this regard. At every council meeting I have attended, when a proposal comes up or a reading of a proposed ordinance, a vote is taken on this particular item. I have yet to hear the council talk about the item and why they feel the way they do before voting. The public never sees any interaction between council members. I have been informed that this is because they caucus (meet) before these meetings and discuss it amongst themselves.
I know there is law that states that they have the right to political caucus. I have been told there is also a law that states they can only meet in groups of two. I don’t know which is correct, but I do know that this is a travesty. There can be no transparency without the public viewing and being a part of council interaction. Minds can already be made up and processes scripted otherwise. The citizen really has no say and cannot be represented properly without this being a mandatory part of council meetings. Anyone can step up to the microphone and say whatever their opinion may be, but it changes nothing and means nothing.
The City Council is supposed to represent their districts and their citizens. This cannot happen without the interaction stated above. Our council members listen to presentations and ask questions publicly, but any discussion in regards to said presentations amongst the council members is withheld from the public. This is not transparency in any fashion, and I hope the citizens of Columbus take this to task and transparency doesn’t become a foregone idea of a previous administration.