Fayette council: Let the mayor join in on closed sessions 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

An odd situation arose at the last Fayette village council meeting.

One council member called for a session closed to the public in order to discuss hiring an interim village administrator. Another councilor said it should be for council members only.

The person making the motion said, “Well, elected officials only.”

“No,” responded the other councilor. “I said council members only.”

So off they went to meet alone, leaving the mayor behind.

There are some obvious differences between Michigan and Ohio when it comes to local government, and apparently in Ohio the mayor is not considered part of council. 

We’re not challenging the ability of the council to leave the mayor out of an executive session—the village attorney didn’t flag the action—but we are challenging the wisdom of such a move.

Everyone at the council table was elected by the residents of the village (or appointed to fill a vacancy) in order to make decisions governing the village. What’s the reason to keep one of them out of the decision-making process?

In Ohio, the mayor votes only to break a tie, and suppose that action would have been needed that night. How could the mayor make an informed vote after she was shut out from the discussion?

It’s true that she was invited to join the group later in the meeting, but this action seems not only rude but inappropriate. Everyone at the table is there to make decisions for the village and offer opinions about the issues. Let everyone participate in the process.

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