The Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) has accepted a Request for Review of a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) by the City of DeKalb in April.
In “City Manager Oversteps His Bounds,” I noted that Council’s April 11 decision to have city management craft a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) to outsource the services of the lead city attorney had somehow morphed into an RFP to outsource all legal services by the time of the release of the April 25 meeting agenda.
This was odd, because a motion to outsource all had been defeated on April 11.
In the post, I was operating on the assumption that the city manager had taken it upon himself to change the RFP upon the surprise resignation of the assistant attorney, and assumed Council would put the smack down on the change. However, the item had been placed upon the consent agenda, where a passel of routine items are put to a quick omnibus vote. I asked the mayor if he would remove the RFP from the consent agenda for separate consideration, which he did; and during the discussion the city manager let on that the change in direction had been made in closed session.
This seemed a possible violation of the Open Meetings Act, so I made a Request for Review to the PAC and was notified today that the Request was accepted. There are three possible outcomes: 1) a finding of no violation; 2) a resolution via informal mediation through the PAC; or 3) the issuing of a binding opinion.
If a violation did occur, it would have been during the special council meeting April 18, which included a closed session to discuss personnel.
To view the critical points in the discussion, click here to go select the meeting video. At 1:18:00, the resolution in question was pulled from the consent agenda and discussed until 1:42:42.
At 1:26:30, Alderman Verbic notes that they had decided not to outsource the assistant’s position and asks why they are considering a different proposal now.
At 1:30:05, Alderman Baker reminds the rest of the council that his motion to solicit RFPs for both positions was defeated.
At 1:30:29, the closed session discussion was revealed and the city manager says he was directed to alter the RFP due to a change in personnel.
There was some talk about the “official” RFP proposal on April 25 still being the one the council voted for April 11, but that of course does not jibe with the actions taken.