Lincoln City City Council begins to lower the boom on suspected executive session “leaks” and raises recreation center rates a little bit…
The Lincoln City City Council this week began taking steps to lower the boom on any member of the council that leaks executive session materials to any member of the public. Executive Sessions are city council meetings that are closed to the public to discuss personnel matters, potential or already filed law suits, acquisition or sale of city property or in recent allegations, that someone on the city council is leaking officially confidential executive session information to certain members of the public, in one form or another.
City Attorney Richard Appicello said he has drawn up a more punitive set of punishments if a city councilor is guilty of disclosing executive session materials. Appicello reminded the council that there is a standing rule that no documents subject to executive session may be duplicated or given to anyone but the council and the city manager. He said in the interest of improving city protection of executive session documents he proposed to adopt some clear rules and sanctions found in rules adopted by the city of Gresham.
Under the Gresham format, Appicello said if a city councilor or mayor is caught disseminating such sensitive documents, the council would have the power to censure the rogue councilor or mayor. In short, a simple declaration that the councilor or mayor misbehaved by disseminating executive session documents and that he/she is hereby censured. It’s basically a slap on the wrist with an order to not do it again. But he also indicated that depending on the serious implications of the violation, the council could “investigate” the allegation further and may decide to issue a city council “ticket” of sorts…a “notice of violation” of council rules which carries more weight – and actually cites the offending councilor or mayor into court with the possibility of a $1,000 fine.
Mayor Don Williams said he wanted to take more time with the issue and asked the council to table it until a future meeting. The response from the council was a motion to approve the new ordinance, the motion was seconded, and passed unanimously except for a lone “No” vote from Mayor Williams. Since the vote was six to one, not unanimous on first reading, the council will bring the new ordinance back to the next city council meeting for a second reading – which will likely be another 6 to 1 vote. But being a majority vote on second reading it will pass and become a new city law.
In a related observation, the rules would provide that if any council member interferes with any staff member of the city he or she could be kicked off the council.
In other council action this week the council heard from the director of the Community and Recreation Center that recreation fees are going up, but not by much. There are a lot of categories of facility use and individual recreation activities so just check the city’s recreation center website for those increases. Again, they’re not much. Mayor Don Williams asked if the rates could be bumped up during the high-tourism season. City Manager Richard Chandler said he would look into the possibilities. City Councilor Riley Hoagland asked if there might be some way to lower rates for kids. Chandler said he’d also look into that as well.