Online council agendas raise concerns

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Background information on city council agenda items will soon be available at the click of a mouse.

The City Council Jan. 9 voted to upload the city council agenda and the entire packet of background documents for each meeting available to the council to the city’s website prior to each meeting.

The packet, usually compiled the Friday before each Monday’s meeting, was frequently requested by meeting attendees, and in a letter to the council Director of Information Technology David Fuller outlined two possibilities for diseminating it – allowing people to subscribe to an email containing the packet from the City Clerk’s office, or, placing it on the website for anyone to download, a choice the council accepted as it would create less work for the department.

But the move could also create problems, city councilors said during the discussion. Councilman Daniel Galeski voiced concerns that the new policy could create liability issues for the city, as they could not pull inflammatory letters submitted to the council from the agenda at the last minute.

City Attorney William Look said the new policy would have to include efforts to make anyone submitting anything for inclusion on the agenda aware that it would be available for download.

“If someone brings something into the clerk’s office, once it’s received, it’s considered public record,” Look said. “If that’s a concern, maybe they should reconsider (submitting) that.”

Councilman Leonard Sabuda said he did not anticipate problems with the new policy.

“I’m sure after we put this thing together, if there’s a problem, we can always correct it at that particular time,” he said. “How many years have we gone through now with the clerk doing the agenda and we’ve gotten some crank on the agenda? Never.”