Friday, December 09, 2005

Reilly Plays Games to Avoid Citizen Input

Rather than allow the public to sit in on meetings between members of the County Council and the County Executive's aides as they discuss the Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole project, the Council Chairman Ed Reilly has decided to violate the spirit of the law by adhering to its letter.

To get around the state's open meetings laws, which require that the public be allowed to attend meetings at which a Council quorum is present, Reilly intends to use his new chairmanship to ensure that no more than 3 of the 7 Councilmembers attend any given meeting. A strategy, he was apparently led to by the Executive. According to Matt Diehl, County spokesman, "The county executive told Councilman Reilly that the council's more than welcome to schedule meetings and, from what I can gather, suggested they do it in groups of twos and threes so it won't constitute a quorum."

"We're going to have a candid, open, long discussion, as opposed to the burning hours at the council meetings," remarked Reilly, raising some doubt as to the "candidness" and "openness" of the meetings that have been held on the topic to this point.

Predictably, and rightly, long-time critic of the project, Councilwoman Samorajczyk, was displeased with the measure. "The more I think about it, I'm not going to participate," she said. "My purpose was to have a public presentation so people would know what's happening."

One can't help but get the feeling that the County has given up the farm on this deal, and is likely to get very little, proportionally, like a proper stormwater management system, in return. Of course, with these back door dealings, we may never know until we see it completed.

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