Archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Council to consider resuming detailed meeting minutes

June 19, 2012

Members of the Shawnee City Council are expected to consider a shift back to detailed minutes of city meetings when they meet as a committee Aug. 7.

During its June 11 meeting, the City Council voted 6-0, with Ward 3 council member Dawn Kuhn absent, to study the possibility of resuming the near-verbatim minutes. The council voted to suspend detailed minutes as a cost-saving measure early last year, directing those who wanted more than summary minutes to review posted audio recordings of the meetings.

But after resident Tony Lauer spoke during the June 11 meeting, Ward 3 Councilman Jeff Vaught made the motion to review the issue in committee.

Lauer, who is researching an issue in his Crimson Ridge neighborhood, where Vaught also lives, said “the purpose of this message is not to discuss that issue but to implore your reconsideration of an extremely valuable community and educational resource: the readable and searchable meeting minutes.”

Following the June 11 meeting, Ward 4 council member Michelle Distler sent Lauer an email thanking him “for being able to finally accomplish what was unable to.”

“I will be so happy to have our minutes back,” Distler said. “I used them all the time and was unable to convince (council colleagues) of the importance.”

Distler and Dan Pflumm, who represents Ward 1, were the only council members who voted against the change to summary minutes when the issue was voted on Feb. 14, 2011. But during the June 11 meeting, some who voted for the change sounded amenable to restoring the detailed minutes.

Current council members who voted to dispense with the detailed minutes last year were Vaught, Kuhn, Ward 1 Councilman Jim Neighbor, Ward 2 Councilman Neal Sawyer and Ward 4 Councilman Mickey Sandifer.

City Manager Carol Gonzales said the move saved the city the roughly $10,000 annual cost of having meeting recordings transcribed. That service was discontinued in August 2011.

Lauer said he wanted the city “to go back and recreate (detailed minutes) since the day they stopped.” Vaught said that may be cost-prohibitive.

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