Friday, January 26, 2007

Norco Council Solicitor Zito Won't Sanction Back Door Meeting


Everything a governmental body does can result in a lawsuit. So whenever a council member or township super wants a back room meeting, he can just claim he needs to talk about potential litigation. The solicitor will wave his magic wand, say the magic words (executive session) and Poof! They all disappear.

But this is a story about a rare county council solicitor who actually observes the Sunshine Act.
You'll love it because the Sunshine Act wins out and the evil villain is Ron Angle . He wanted an an executive session at the last Northampton County Council meeting to discuss "litigation" over the now defunct Wind Gap Walmart.

"Would you kindly provide me the docket number of the case you wish to discuss?" asked council solicitor Lenny Zito.

"It's potential litigation. You know, the Commonwealth Court has ruled I'm an expert on the Sunshine Act," chimed Ron.

But Zito remained unpersuaded. He calmly asked Angle for a written or oral statement identifying a specific complaint. Ron could not do so. So no executive session, bippy. Back room meetings to discuss "litigation" are permitted only for actual lawsuits or "identifiable complaints" that are expected to be filed.

Last Thursday will mark the first time I've ever seen a solicitor make inquiries and properly interpret the "litigation" exception in the Sunshine Act. Northampton County Council is fortunate to have Lenny Zito. Even Angle listens to him.

But not me. I'm a miserable bastard.

5 comments:

Julian Stolz said...

That needs to be a universal goal for all of us. No back door meetings, no executive sessions. If elected to the East Penn School Board I will not attend any such meetings and will staunchly oppose them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you are elected to the East Penn School Board, you can make "Chickenhawk dancing" part of the curriculum!

Julian Stolz said...

Anon,

I'm not that partisan, I just feel strongly about the GWOT or actually the Global War on Islamofacism since that's what it really is. Kindly stop the unnecessary partisan heckling or go back to Kos.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, Julian, there is a time and place for executive sessions. The legislature sets it forth rather clearly. But it has been too broadly interpreted.

As far as your was on Islamfacism is concerned, I think it's actually a war on Islam. Very sad. I appreciate your comments and opinions as well as those who disagree with you.

Julian Stolz said...

Bernie,

I'll say it flatly, if it is a war on Islam, it shouldn't be.