By NorthIowaToday.com Publisher Matt Marquardt
I asked the Cerro Gordo County Supervisors to provide information to the public that would fully disclose all the details about items on their meeting agendas ahead of time, before the meetings. My question and their answers were recorded on video and can be watched at the end of this story.
Although I wasn’t specifically told yes or no, I was met with a scoff from Supervisor Jay Urdahl, who informed me that “we are not the City Council.”
I was told I could ask questions after meetings if I wanted to. In my opinion, this does not disclose to the public the “who, what, when, where and why.”
To follow up on my question to you gentlemen after Tuesday’s meeting, when I asked about public information about your meeting agendas, I have provided a link to the very latest “packet” sent out by the Mason City City Council, only as an example, that fully discloses to the public the items on their agenda and the background information for each agenda item.
I agree, you are “not the City Council” as Mr. Urdal explained. However, I would argue that you ARE an elected body who represent your local constituents, with a budget, a staff capable of compiling the information that would be included in a “packet”, and I would further argue you have a duty to be fully transparent and provide all the information possible to the people you represent.
As I stated, right now you are only listing a title of each agenda item, in most cases, and sometimes a little more. You are not disclosing to the public the background information for these agenda items, your inter-office communications (memos, if they exist) and other pertinent information that the public deserves to be aware of.
I do not believe that hanging around after a meeting to ask questions sufficiently satisfies the public’s right to ALL the information for each agenda item, especially BEFORE the meeting even takes place.
I will continue to ask that you provide memos, data, summaries, etc of agenda items so that the general public can be aware of the county’s business to the fullest extent.
EXAMPLE PACKET: http://www.masoncity.net//UltimateEditorInclude/UserFiles/Common/package/November_3__2011_Special_Council_Packet_-_City_CouncilPacket_11-03-2011_113017.pdf
Even more packets and agendas from the City of Mason City, as examples: http://www.masoncity.net/agenda.aspx?id=1279&catid=58
Link to video where I asked the question about providing a packet to the public:
Thank you and have a good day.