Kudos to those who voted to keep meeting open

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The issue: Executive sessions

Our position: Sharing issues openly with public a positive thing

The $48,000 police study is out. Mayor James Perkins Jr. says a copy will be available on the city’s Web site, so citizens can take a look at it.

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Dr. Ralph Ioimo of Public Safety Consultants Inc. gave a 30-minute presentation of his recommendations during the Selma City Council meeting Monday. People attended the meeting and heard his recommendations. The council meeting was broadcast on radio.

But prior to the meeting, a majority of the council went into closed-door session to discuss a management letter issued by Ioimo. The public does not know what that letter says. It does not know what was omitted from the report.

The council voted 6-3 to close its doors to the public to discuss the letter. Those voting to keep the meeting open were Cecil Williamson of Ward 1, Reid Cain of Ward 2 and Jean T. Martin of Ward 3.

Their efforts to keep the public’s business in the open are appreciated. We wish the other council members were as trusting of the voters they represent as these.

The council is legally allowed to enter executive session to discuss certain issues. Attorney Jimmy Nunn said this session was to talk about general reputation and character of an individual. These are legal reasons.

Only Williamson declined to go behind closed doors with the rest of the council.

&8220;I don’t know if it was illegal to have an executive session because nobody told us what name and character was going to be discussed,&8221; he said.

Perhaps in the future the council will reconsider its position.