For the record, I am opposed to recommending a replacement as acting director [due] to the fact that there has been little presence, if any, at our council or committee meetings and we have had little or no updates as to what has been accomplished or what the committee as a whole has done or is working on.Actually, Werner's comments are not "for the record" at all. They are instead the technological equivalent of the back room meeting. He is deliberating, which is defined as the "discussion of agency business for the purpose of making a decision," but is doing so behind closed doors.
I respectfully requested the Economic team 's presence at our May 5th council meeting.and no one showed.
I am now requesting , with ample time in advance, to have all Economic team members at our next council meeting to [respond to] unanswered questions and concerns that still are open.
Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act clearly requires that "official action and deliberations by a quorum of the members of an agency shall take place at a meeting open to the public."
Instead of expressing his disdain for Northampton County's Department of Community and Economic Development in an open meeting, President John Cusick and other Council members are evading the law by conducting agency business via email. In fact, it could even be shielded from public disclosure under the Right to Know law as an "internal, predecisional deliberation."
Obviously, there is nothing improper about providing Council members with information or letting them know that you want a department to attend a meeting. Fact finding can also take place in private. But Werner's other points cross the line, and need to be said at an open meeting instead of through daily email chains in what certainly seem to be a pre-arranged cyber meetings.
When he was a member of council, Lamont McClure discouraged these cyber back rooms, out of the public eye. But Ken Kraft tells me that the new Council is ignoring this sage advice. During meetings, I have heard discussions of daily emails going back and forth. This practice may go on in Lehigh County as well.
It does result in short, pro forma meetings and very bad government.