I had hoped I could persuade Nazareth and its solicitor to err on the side of public inclusion, not exclusion. But I was wrong. After filing suit, Nazareth answered with bizarre allegations of fraud, failure of consideration and contributory negligence. These defenses might help in an automobile accident or a bad real estate deal, but have nothing to do with the Sunshine Act. So I filed objections to Nazareth's answer, and the matter was argued in court on Halloween, of all days.
Tuesday, Judge Smith ruled against Nazareth, sustaining my objections. Nazareth has twenty days to file a proper answer.
Nazareth is beginning to learn it is not the sole arbiter of the Sunshine Act. It will ultimately have to answer to a judge. Having lost its first round, I really hope Nazareth comes to its senses and agrees that committee meetings must be public. News Over Coffee has made some constructive suggestions. No council member should participate in a council committee that violates the Sunshine Act.
Sounds like a plan, eh? Somebody needs to tell Nazareth. According to both Express Times and Morning Call, a new committee of three councilmen, the mayor, chief of police and the borough secretary meets every Friday to discuss plans to move the police station and borough offices. This committee, like so many others, is behind closed doors, where democracy dies.