On October 25, 2010 the city of Birmingham, Michigan had the usual city commission meeting. The agenda was pretty much the standard, approvals and discussions were allowed on various city issues but what really bothers me is that the city can vote to meet behind closed doors and discuss issues in private.
It was decided at this meeting under New Business, paragraphs E, F and G that the city would vote to meet behind closed doors to discuss land acquisition, pending litigation regarding Bolyard v the City of Birmingham and labor relations. After they decide in private what they want to do about these issues they do go back to an open session to take formal action but by then the city has already decided what they want to do about the issues and the residents just seem to have to accept it. If residents are at this meeting do you think they are going to hang around for an undetermined amount of time for council to reconvene?
When President Obama was elected he said there should be transparency in government; what happened to that?
What is the issue of labor relations, does that mean they are going to vote someone a raise or increase the benefits? Why can’t the residents know how much money they are paying their city officials and what benefits they receive, after all isn’t it the residents that are paying them with taxpayer dollars? City Officials should not be allowed to vote on each others raises behind closed doors, the residents of Birmingham should get to decide how much and what amenities they want to give their council members.
If government were more transparent and not allowed to decide on important issues behind closed doors then maybe there would be less corruption and residents would feel better about our government and politicians in general.