Monday, April 8, 2019

City Administration Wants Sanitized BMA Meetings and Censorship of Minority Aldermen Voices

In a blatant post-election anti-transparency move, the City administration is proposing actual censorship at BMA meetings. Aldermen in the minority on issues will be effectively censored from voicing objections to certain measures if a proposed resolution is passed in the BMA meeting tonight. Currently, items that are considered routine are all put in a consent agenda, and voted on as a group, with no discussion. All five aldermen must agree before items put to a vote are placed in the consent agenda. Proposed Resolution 19R05 changes all that, and votes of only three of the five aldermen are able to place items in the consent agenda. Take a look: 

Items that have ANY objection by ANY aldermen are by definition not routine. The people can judge from 
the ensuing discussion if aldermen attempt to put routine items in the regular agenda.  Relabeling the consent agenda as the preliminary agenda is nothing but a ploy.

This is a blatant attack on transparency. The people do NOT want sanitized meetings, we want open discussion of each item if there are any objections by any of the aldermen.  

Aldermen, PLEASE do not pass this measure.

Wonder what else the citizens will have to endure next?


  1. This measure is extremely concerning and stifles transparency, ideas, and discussion...unless votes are already preconceived and aldermen feel there is nothing they could remotely learn from any discussion (which I find that concerning by itself that my aldermen might be ignorant and arrogant enough to assume there's nothing anyone could say to make them more educated about a topic...and that they may not be confident enough about the way they are voting to explain to others why they might vote a certain way.) Does not instill much confidence.

  2. If you haven't watched how the GMSD Board of Education runs its meetings, you should consider doing so. They run very efficient meetings, often taking up twice as many votable items in less than a third of the time of BMA meetings. Maybe it's because they're an all-female board (men just seem to mess things up sometimes) or maybe it's because they actually want to help the people they were elected to represent. They hold the majority of their debate during the work session, which immediately precedes the regular meeting and is open to the public (and recorded). They use this less formal time to discuss amongst themselves (something that most of us would usually call "debate"), which isn't really possible in the regular session. They also require a simple majority to move something to or from their consent agenda. Since majority rule doesn't inhibit transparency for the Board of Education, I don't think it inhibits transparency for the BMA, either.