My proposed city council transparency/communications ordinance

I sent this ‘rough’ draft to a couple of city councilors this past week.

I think this the right time to propose this kind of legislation. First off, the voters made transparency their #1 issue in the last election. All or most candidates agreed, including Mayor TenHaken that more communication is needed between the mayor and council and public.

I also think doing this ASAP will provide smoother roads ahead with the new council and mayor and future administrations. Essentially starting out on the right foot right away so their is no confusion or issues in the future.

Remember always, the public OWNS this city government, we fund it, we deserve to have information shared with us.

This is only MY suggestions, this is the council’s legislation, they should shape it accordingly. This is my ‘wish list’ on some basic stuff.

Like I said, this is pretty broad but I think you need to start with the most and make amendments as necessary;

A proposed ordinance encouraging transparent communication between the mayor’s office and city council;

• When referencing City Council this also includes city council staff (clerks, operations, audit etc.)

• When referencing Mayor’s office this includes his staff (Chief of Staff, Receptionist, communications officer and directors)

Communications that the City Council will share with the Mayor’s office;

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or without a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any contract negotiations. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or with a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any pending or existing contract/RFP negotiations. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All and any task force/committee meeting results. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All minutes from any city board meeting. We should also record ALL of these meetings and make them available on the city website in a useable file (video or audio or both). This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• ANY confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation should be shared in executive session but NOT with the public per legal status of confidentiality.

Communications that the Mayor’s office will share with the City Council;

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or without a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any contract negotiations. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or with a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any pending or existing contract/RFP negotiations. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All and any task force/committee meeting results. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All minutes from any city board meeting. We should also record ALL of these meetings and make them available on the city website in a useable file (video or audio or both). This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• ANY confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation should be shared in executive session but NOT with the public per legal status of confidentiality.

————-

Here is an example of what the city of Chicago shares;

https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/transparency.html

Atlanta has a ‘Transparency Officer’ to enforce open records;

https://www.myajc.com/news/local/atlanta-mayor-proposes-transparency-officer-city-hall/kxjAAdi4L3jzrx0r4Wa2tO/

Bloomington, IL

http://www.cityblm.org/government/transparency



6 comments ↓

#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.20.18 at 11:21 pm

Don’t forget, “boxers or briefs?”

#2 Dutch Oven on 05.21.18 at 2:57 pm

How about a public schedule for the Mayor, so we know who he’s meeting with? That’s done at other levels of government in the executive branch.

#3 l3wis on 05.21.18 at 3:09 pm

DO – Love it!

#4 D@ily Spin on 05.21.18 at 3:25 pm

Seriously, do you think they’ll listen?

#5 l3wis on 05.21.18 at 3:33 pm

I made the list by request of Councilor Stehly and encouraged her to add anything else to it she wishes.

#6 Sioux Falls City Council continues to chip away at open government through little battles — South DaCola on 05.28.19 at 11:15 am

[…] was reminded of proposing a total transparency ordinance a year ago after a city councilor hung up on me yesterday. I was trying to tell them that while the […]

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