Just as I was thinking it must be time to check whether something got lost in the mail, news of the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor’s (PAC’s) decision arrived about a possible Open Meetings Act (OMA) violation made by the City of DeKalb last April.
Back then I submitted to the PAC a Request for Review of the decision to place the question of putting out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for outsourcing all legal services on the April 25 agenda, even though the proposal had been voted down April 11 in favor of a more limited RFP.
According to the city manager during the April 25 meeting, the decision to change direction had been made in closed session.
Also that evening, two council members expressed surprise that the RFP had changed. This was surprising because the changed RFP appeared on the consent agenda, a mechanism reserved for routine business since council votes on consent items in omnibus fashion without debate. The only reason discussion occurred at all was because I, and perhaps others, had requested the item be removed and debated separately.
In its review response the City of DeKalb was very careful to establish city council participation in the RFP change, just as they did (and we noted) in May.
According to the City, three Council members requested that Resolution 11-30 [authorizing the city manager to issue the request for proposal in question] be placed on the April 25 meeting agenda.
Three council members moved themselves to request this, and it ends up on the consent agenda?
Still, what the question hinged on was whether it was OK to make a decision in closed session, and the PAC’s answer is yes — as long as the final action (vote) is taken in open session, which it was.