Bob Weiner's quick action results to cancellation of secret meetings, which would have violated state Freedom of Information Act
“No secret meetings”
Wilmington News Journal April 7, 2013
New Castle County Councilman Bob Weiner had three informal budget meetings scheduled by officials in County Executive Tom Gordon ’s adminis-tration canceled, saying the sessions would have violated the state Freedom of Information Act. County Economic Development Director Marcus Henry offered a maximum of five council members to meet with officials from the executive branch who are preparing the budget. The council has 13 members, so five is not a quorum.
The sessions were to have been held three days last week.
An email from Henry’s aide noted that the meetings were scheduled to answer preliminary questions by the council members and were not intended to circumvent the council’s public budget hearings.
Weiner objected to the meetings because they were set up to have only five members to avoid the legal requirement that they be advertised. “There is no compelling reason that these questions need to be asked outside of public view and not in the course of regular budget hearings” Weiner said in an email to Henry and his council colleagues.
Henry quickly emailed his response, which said, “In light of the concerns raised by Councilman Weiner, we will cancel the meetings.”
Weiner thanked Henry for his reversal and said he didn’t blame Henry for trying to hold the sessions. Such informal budget meetings have been held for the past eight years, Weiner said.
“It was how things always have been done,” Weiner said.
“I’ve complained before, but nothing happened. I felt that I could get them canceled this time because Tom Gordon has been receptive to issues about transparency in government since he took office last November.”
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