Charleston to Address Transparency Concerns

April 6, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveAs a follow-up to earlier meetings, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley sent City Council members a letter relating to requests for more timely minutes of meetings and a suggestion to televise council meetings.

The letter was not in the documents available for public viewing. Council was to discuss it during the March 23 meeting but because of the session’s length, members agreed to discuss it at a future meeting.

However Riley did say that he had proposed that the minutes of the Ways and Means meetings be summarized. He noted that summaries were the practice of other entities in the state. But in keeping with the historic nature of Charleston, the minutes of council meetings should be kept verbatim, he said.

The mayor argued at the last council meeting that a staff shortage caused the lack of timeliness in the delivery of minutes. However, he had made a provision to fill the one-person vacancy in the clerk’s office. This action should result in a faster delivery of minutes to council members in the future.

A suggestion had been made at the last council meeting to add a system that would help obtain more timely minutes. In the letter, the mayor said that an Information Technology department employee told him that a voice recognition system to handle all of the speakers at a council meeting was not feasible. .

As for televising the meetings, the IT department had identified two options which would be presented to council in detail.

Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.