Once a Month Executive Sessions, seem to be the norm for City Council

Lowell City Council

Lowell City Council

One of the knocks against former Manager Lynch, was that he didn’t keep the Council aware of sensitive informations (like the status of lawsuits) but during the review of this Council’s Agenda’s so far this year, it appears Manager Murphy and the Council have an Executive Session at least once a month (twice in April, none in May)

My observation are based on the review I did of this year’s Agendas. The only negative comment I have is that since April, no minutes of Executive Sessions have been released. (Seems odd the SUN wants SC minutes but are deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to the Council).

In Jan and Feb. when the Council met in Executive Session regarding City Manager Lynch and the Methadone Clinic, after a few delays (meeting cancelled, meeting ended at 10:00 pm) the Council Voted in March to release those minutes and any other prior minutes that should be designated to be made public from executive sessions

March 11 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION
10. – CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION
10.1. 2014 / 125 – Executive Session to discuss and release minutes of Executive Session meeting on January 21, 2014 and any other minutes that should be designated to be made public from executive sessions.

Here are the list of Executive Sessions since April but you will notice none involve “to discuss and release minutes of Executive Session meetings”

APRIL 1st 12.1. 2014 / 237 – Executive Session regarding pending litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.
In City Council, Mayor noted in public session the reason for the Executive Session which had been posted. Mayor informed public that the body would be adjourning from the Executive Session. Roll Call at 8:38 PM.

April 8th 2014 Executive Session – Review negotiations with City Manager-Elect; Discuss matters of litigation, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

JUN 24th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION
11.1. 2014 / 471 – Executive session, pursuant to “Exemption 3”, to discuss strategy with respect to potential litigation regarding the Greater Lowell Technic al High School, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

July 8th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION
Executive Session, pursuant to “Exemption 4”, relative to the deployment of security personnel and strategies relating to their deployment as the result of recent criminal activity; as well as “Exemption 3”, to discuss strategy with respect to matters of ongoing litigation, (Cloutier, Deuso and others), public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

Aug 26th 2014 3.1. 2014 / 588 – Executive Session regarding matters of pending litigation relative to the GLRVS, worker compensation cases, other injured on-duty cases, and claims brought by Diane Cloutier, public discussion of which could have a detrimental effect on the City’s position.

Sept 9th 2014 CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION
10. CITY COUNCIL – EXECUTIVE SESSION 10.1. Executive Session – Pursuant to “Exemption 4”, relative to the deployment of security personnel and strategies to their deployment as the result of recent criminal activity, and other policy-related matters.

According to the Open Meeting Law:

(a) A public body shall create and maintain accurate minutes of all meetings, including executive sessions, setting forth the date, time and place, the members present or absent, a summary of the discussions on each subject, a list of documents and other exhibits used at the meeting, the decisions made and the actions taken at each meeting, including the record of all votes.

(f) The minutes of any executive session, the notes, recordings or other materials used in the preparation of such minutes and all documents and exhibits used at the session, may be withheld from disclosure to the public in their entirety under subclause (a) of clause Twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4, as long as publication may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session, but no longer; provided, however, that the executive session was held in compliance with section 21.

When the purpose for which a valid executive session was held has been served, the minutes, preparatory materials and documents and exhibits of the session shall be disclosed unless the attorney-client privilege or 1 or more of the exemptions under said clause Twenty-sixth of said section 7 of said chapter 4 apply to withhold these records, or any portion thereof, from disclosure.

For purposes of this subsection, if an executive session is held pursuant to clause (2) or (3) of subsections (a) of section 21, then the minutes, preparatory materials and documents and exhibits used at the session may be withheld from disclosure to the public in their entirety, unless and until such time as a litigating, negotiating or bargaining position is no longer jeopardized by such disclosure, at which time they shall be disclosed unless the attorney-client privilege or 1 or more of the exemptions under said clause Twenty-sixth of said section 7 of said chapter 4 apply to withhold these records, or any portion thereof, from disclosure.

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