Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sunshine Week: PMUA gets 'executive session' right on two counts

How about a nice, upbeat post about a Plainfield organization for Sunshine Week?

About fifteen people turned out for the PMUA's board meeting on Tuesday evening. The meeting itself was unremarkable, with a number of items covering routine matters, plus an item on renting some vacant land on Cottage Place and leasing five 'solid waste collection vehicles' on an emergency basis as the current lease is expiring and negotiations for a new one are unresolved (see the agenda here).

However, there was the need for an EXECUTIVE SESSION, and here is where the PMUA gets it right -- as contrasted to both the City Council and the Board of Ed.

FIRST, the PUBLIC MEETING is conducted first and then the Commissioners go into EXECUTIVE SESSION if necessary (as it was Tuesday night).

This comports perfectly with a February 18 appeals court decision (see here) ruling against Rutgers for routinely convening a public meeting for five minutes to then go into executive session, after which returning to a public meeting.

SECONDLY, the PMUA Commissioners adopted a resolution for the executive session that IDENTIFIED THE MATTER TO BE DISCUSSED WITH AS MUCH SPECIFICITY AS POSSIBLE -- in this case to discuss contract negotations on the lease of the vacant Cottage Place lot.

This also perfectly comports with the second portion of the above-cited ruling requiring public notice and the resolution --

"should contain as much information as is consistent with full public knowledge without doing any harm to the public interest"
The Board of Ed's practice in this matter seems to be exactly what the Court ruled against Rutgers for.

At last nights BOE meeting, the agenda (see here) contained its standard first page, announcing the opening  of the public meeting at 6:30 PM, to be closed for executive session at 6:35 PM and resuming the public meeting at 8:00 PM. This is EXACTLY the practice the court ruled against in the Rutgers case.

Additionally, the non-specific language at the bottom of the first page, detailing items to be discussed as merely 'personnel' and 'legal', do not meet the requirements of the court ruling.

To be fair, the PMUA is lacking in an archive of its agendas or the posting of minutes to its website, but it does get this one item right.

Is it time for others to follow the PMUA's good example?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Where's Rob's comment?

Anonymous said...

I guess if somebody is doing something right and he can't criticize Assemblyman Green, Rob has nothing to say.

Ari said...

The PMUA has always had this right! Kudos to them. I'm not above giving credit when credit is due.

Anonymous said...

FYI - The agenda posted is for the February meeting

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2010 @ 6:00 P.M.

Rob said...

First if you read the blogs to read my comments...You definitely need to get a life.
Secondly ... 2 issues I may or may not comment on sporadically: BOE and PMUA.
See Maria's blog, I read her blog daily and only comment sporadically.
Per criticizing Jerry Green...go join the protect Poor Jerry from the Big Mean Bernice Club.
Running a meeting right and running a business right...2 different subjects...but to appease the "how dare anyone say anything 'bad' crowd.": Congratulations on the PMUA on conducting one piece of business on the up and up and the proper way so as to appeal to the nature of serving the public instead of shadow and subterfuge.