City Attorney implements improved Executive Session Procedure

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Many of you probably didn't know that I withdrew my lawsuit against the city after the judge made a decision on my motion for summary judgment.  Even though my effort did not result in a clear and unambiguous legal ruling about the Open Meetings Act I am pleased to see the the City Attorney adopted one of my contentions and implemented a useful change during the last work session.  


The particular contention that I made was that the law says that any time Council goes into executive session for the purpose of discussing realty, they have to make a determination that having that discussion in public would lead to some individual getting a personal advantage that is against the public's interest.  For instance, we have all heard the stories of people finding out where the railroads or highways were going to be built and then going out and buying that land on the cheap so they could jack up the price later.  If the city were to have some kind of project like that, it would be acceptable to hold those discussion in executive session to prevent that kind of action.  However, there aren't that many situations like that and the city often goes into executive session to discuss the sale of property.  Of course, it is almost impossible to find a situation where the public would not benefit from everyone knowing the city plans to sell a piece of property and giving everyone the opportunity to tell us why it should be sold to them.  

In the first 15 seconds of the video below, you can hear the motion for executive session that was made Jan 18, 2022.  I hope you can see why I was so pleased.  There is one additional item that deserves mentioning.  Mr. Otto and Mr. Shaw left the executive session shortly after it started.  We do not know why.  However, I would like to discuss the mechanics of how I believe these types of executive session should work.  Unfortunately, if it is a proper subject for executive session many of the details can not be discussed during the motion.  In the video below, you will hear that Mr. Otto asked about the location of the property.  It was appropriate not to say in open session.  However, as soon as council goes into executive session their opening discussion needs to be whether and how a person's private interest would benefit against the public's interest.  If that cannot be extablished, then council would need to end the executive session and hold the discussion in an open meeting.  If you watch to the end of the meeting, we don't know that is what occured.  I am sure Council will get future opportunities to implement this correctly. Hopefully, they let us know that is what happened after Council's next opportunity.   





Anyone interested in the Court Filing you can see all of them by going to https://pro.mcohio.org/pro/ and entering 2021CV01213 into the case number.  Then select Docket.   I make my case in the documents titled 

MOTION: SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY THOMAS MCMASTERS filed on 7/18/21

RESPONSE PLAINTIFFS RESPONSE BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY THOMAS MCMASTERS filed on 9/24/21 

MOTION: FOR RELIEF FROM ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY THOMAS MCMASTERS filed 11/07/21

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