I’ve been trying to follow the efforts of a group called “Truth Matters Chico”, ex city employees who are asking sticky questions. One thing that’s come up as a result of their chain rattling is that months of minutes and videos are missing from the city council website. I mean, we can’t even see what measures were passed or failed, who voted how, nothing. A news reporter gets a story up in 24 – 48 hours – sometimes less – why can’t the clerk’s office get the minutes posted in less than seven months?
If you go to the city website, follow the links through “minutes and agendas,” you will find that there are no minutes posted pasted February (clerk Debbie Presson promised that the Jan/Feb minutes would be posted by today). Minutes can take a lot of forms – some cities even use court reporter machines to capture every single word. Our minutes, lately, have just been simple reports about the business that took place at the meeting – what issues were discussed, what actions were taken, who voted how.
If you want the play-by-play, you used to be able to watch the video online. Suddenly the video feed is acting up, not only in the archives, but I’ve had trouble watching the meetings live. It says to update my browser, etc, but my browser has been updated. For one thing, why am I able to view some videos but not others? The website used to work great, what’ the hitch?
While the video is good to have for the clerk to check in cases of doubt, or when you want to watch a hearing, or listen to the councilors’ reasoning behind a vote, the video can also be onerous to wade through when all you want is the motion and the vote. This simple information ought to be available within seven days of a meeting, as far as I’m concerned. We need the minutes to be posted promptly and consistently. In Willows you get it within 30 days, and you can view old minutes years back.
Wow, their reports are pretty thorough. Check out their school district minutes:
But we wait seven months? I e-mailed Gruendl, Sorensen and clerk Debbie Presson, and here are their replies:
Thanks Scott, Mark, Debbie, for your response to my question,
As for the minutes, why does it take so long to post these? Look at the city of Willows website here:
What I am asking for in “minutes” is a summary of the actions taken, what exact motions were made, who voted which way, did they pass, etc. We’re not getting verbatim minutes, so I’m wondering, why does it take seven months to post the minutes?
In past, you councilors have been allowed to peruse the minutes forever, striking comments, revising stuff. Is this still the case? If so, why?
Finally, I know there is a closed session discussion regarding contracts tonight, so I want to remind you council members – you’ve laid off people, cut positions, and cut services. You’ve sat watch over the illegal and vindictive closure of Bidwell Park – that’s your legacy. Now it’s time to cut pensions and benefits – tell employees they have to pay for their own packages. You need to remember that this city spends somewhere around $10 million paying for pensions and benefits for people who make well beyond the average wages for private sector taxpayers. Scott, you’ve complained about the $900,000 “lost” to the defeat of Measure J – that’s ridiculous, in the face of the money you’ve handed to city employees in the way of pensions and benefits. You don’t like criticism - do a better job!
Sincerely, Juanita Sumner
I had to add that last bit about the contract talks, because I think it relates. They’ve made excuses about being short of staff – because they’ve laid off the worker bees. Now they have the nerve to tell us the work can’t get done, but they continue to collect their awesome (and I mean that in the sense of “mind-blowing”) salaries.
I’ll keep us posted.