Democracy shrinks in the dark

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 8:00pm

We wholly support the initiative of the Town Council, particularly Second Warden André Boudreau and Councilor Chris Willi, to push for more transparency in the dealings of local government. People have every right to know as much as possible, without damaging ongoing litigation, on how and where their money and time is spent.

As reported in this week’s edition, there were 41 Town Council meetings and work sessions held in 2017, and almost half of those meetings included one or more closed sessions, including multiple times when the minutes of those meetings were sealed. Other than the language included in the original agenda, we know almost nothing, or nothing at all, about what was discussed. Island residents also don’t know how much money is being spent on litigation, or why certain issues are litigated, or why they are taking so long to resolve. 

An initial first step has already been taken. Before going into closed session, Town Attorney Kathy Merolla gave a brief description for the reasons why the Council was headed into talks out of public view. The next step, as supported by other members of the Town Council, is to keep the public informed as much as possible after these meetings without causing any harm to legal positions or sensitive personnel matters.