Council forced to move meeting
Concerns over proper notification lead to rescheduling of regular meeting of the city council
ELGIN — The Elgin City Council’s regular meeting was rescheduled Tuesday night over concerns that proper notification had not been given for the meeting.
Mayor Brent Linville rescheduled the meeting for 7 p.m. Sept. 17.
“We had some communications that were late in time to properly advertise this meeting,” Linville said. “We got an OK from the lawyer verbally, but he didn’t give us the written recommendation in time for this meeting.”
Residents Polly Parsons and John Thibodeau were happy to see the meeting postponed.
Parsons said she and other residents had filed complaints with the city over its notification procedures in July. In her complaint, dated July 27, Parsons says meeting notices are not posted in advance “as required by Council and Oregon State law.”
Another complaint, filed July 28, that was provided to the Observer states that at least five meetings since Sept. 24, 2012, could not be held because proper notification was not given.
Parsons said meeting notices are usually only posted on a bulletin board at the post office, but that they are sometimes posted elsewhere or are advertised on the local access TV channel.
Parsons said the notices also lack necessary information as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ORS 192.630(5) states that the notices should provide a name and phone number for people to make a request for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or for other communication aids.
Parsons also noted that according to the Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual, a public body must give notice of a meeting “Far enough in advance reasonably to give interested persons actual notice and an opportunity to attend.” The manual also says that notices “must specify the principal subjects to be covered” and “it must be given separately for each meeting,” even though the public may be aware of when regular meetings are held.
Parsons said she believed the notice for Tuesday night’s meeting was not posted at the post office until about 5 p.m. Sunday.
“We just want to encourage the city to do a better job,” she said.
Thibodeau said he wasn’t surprised that the meeting was postponed but he got the feeling that citizens were pleased with the decision.
“There’s hope,” Parsons said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
On the agenda for next week’s meeting is revisiting the citizen complaint form. The council will also discuss the vacancy left on the council when Scott Abernethy resigned at the end of July.
Linville also said a work session has been scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m.