What happens behind closed doors?

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

What possible reason could Suffolk City Council members have for going behind closed doors to discuss appointing someone to fill the unexpired term of Chuckatuck borough Councilman E. Dana Dickens III?

Yet that’s just what would have happened at their special meeting Thursday had Councilwoman Linda Johnson not voiced opposition along with Calvin Jones and Leroy Bennett who backed her up.

&uot;Our responsibility is to the 9,000-plus people in the Chuckatuck borough,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;We need…to listen to their feelings because the person we pick will represent them for the next 17 months.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Council members seem to be becoming too quick to conduct public business out of earshot of the public and that’s troubling. The entire concept of representative democracy is based on the ability of the people to be &uot;in the loop.&uot; There are obviously those on city council who don’t agree with that. If something can’t stand up to public scrutiny, it probably shouldn’t be done.

What is it they wanted to discuss behind doors? Who among those interested would be the easiest to bully? Who has offered to support certain projects? Who knows? The point is that there is nothing regarding this matter that should not be done in open view of the public.

There should be one criteria for the selection: Who will do the best job of serving the interests of the residents of the Chuckatuck borough?

City Council’s closed door wheeling and dealing over the purchase of the Obici property, which miraculously resulted in certain council members’ change of heart

over the Huntersville issue makes one wonder what kind of deals were cut. Whatever it was – and you’ll never know – the entire process reflects arrogance and even disdain for those they are supposed to represent.

Closed door sessions should be the exception, not the rule. Thanks goodness there’s at least one among the seven who understands that and respects the citizens – those who pay their hard-earned tax dollars to fund everything council does – and their right to know how the city’s

business is conducted. Let’s hope whomever is selected to represent Chuckatuck shares that commitment and doesn’t just go along with the boys.