Another 'behind closed doors' executive session by the Arvada city council this evening ... and yet another violation of the Open Meetings Law: "CRS 26-6-402(4) says that an ‘executive session’ must provide: “identification of the particular matter to be discussed in as much detail as possible.” What are they trying to keep secret from you?
And by the way -- no answer whatsoever from the letter below sent to the City Attorney -- who is now being paid by you to the tune of a quarter million dollars a year.
This email letter sent today to the Arvada City Attorney and members of the City council:
Chris Daly, Arvada City Attorney
8101 Ralston Road
Arvada, CO 80002
We’ve noticed that once again the Arvada city council is scheduled to meet behind closed doors and have an ‘executive session’ about the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority this evening, Monday, August 14, 2017.
The agenda description causes us to have three concerns about this meeting:
1) CRS 26-6-402(4) says that an ‘executive session’ must provide: “identification of the particular matter to be discussedin as much detail as possible.” All the agenda says is: Instructions to Negotiators, Pursuant to CRS 26-6-402(4)(e) Relating to Instructions to AURA . This is essentially a meaningless identification of the particular matter and lacks any detail at all.
2) CRS 26-6-402(4)(b) says: “Mere presence or participation of an attorney at an executive session of the local public body is not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this subsection.” Without the detail of the “identification of the particular matter be discussed,” how is the public to have any confidence that this isn’t merely an executive session called to talk about virtually anything — but behind closed doors because the City Attorney is present?
3) CRS 26-6-402(4)(e) says that an ‘executive session’ can be held for: “Determining positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations; developing strategy for negotiations; and instructing negotiators.” What negotiations? What does this mean? Does ‘negotiations’ include discussion of political strategy? How is the law obeyed when neither the particular matter of the 'negotiations’ or the ‘instructions’ to AURA are not provided to the public “in as much detail as possible”? Once again, without complying with the requirement of “identification of the particular matter to be discussed in as much detail as possible,” then this reason for the closed session becomes meaningless and certainly may leave the public with little or no confidence that the city council is acting appropriately.
Furthermore, there hasn’t been any agenda topic or discussion by council members at any recent public council business meetings about AURA or AURA projects; how can there be any policy basis for council “Instructions to AURA”?
Because of these concerns, we ask that the entire ‘executive session’ be recorded.
We furthermore request that for this meeting and for all ‘executive sessions’ held in future that the law be adhered to in its spirit and to its letter: “identification of the particular matter to be discussed in as much detail as possible.”
A further seminar from the City Attorney on what the urban renewal law means is not sufficient legal reason for yet another city council 'executive session' -- where the information offered is supposed to remain secret.
Furthermore, any council discussion about Urban Renewal Authority policy is mandated by the Colorado Open Meetings Law to be open to the public.
Lack of transparency and accountability to the public and the taxpayers is what has brought about citizen outrage over the $30 Land Deal.
Arvada city government belongs to the people ... a representative democracy only works when the people are informed and can therefore hold public officials accountable.
Arvada for All the People asks that council members vote 'no' this Monday evening on going into 'executive session'. We ask that a majority of Arvada council members schedule a public meeting to discuss the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority and the $30 Land Deal -- and allow citizens and taxpayers to participate.
The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. -- John F. Kennedy