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January 08, 2005

Oh, really?

The banning of Commissioner Anne Melichar from the closed session of the City Commission last Monday (1/3/05) was "no surprise" to the other commissioners after all, according to the 1/8/05 Record Eagle. No kidding.

Anyone observing the meeting could tell this was a staged event on the part of the City Attorney, with the purpose of humiliating an elected official. Punishing, in fact.

My own belief is that the City Attorney had a practice session in front of a mirror prior to the meeting. His comments were scripted, and the comments of the other commissioners were well thought out prior to the meeting (didn't we have a case a few years ago where commissioners called other commissioners to discuss their vote prior to a meeting?).

I have been watching City Commission meetings since the early 90s. I cannot recall one time when the City Commission voted to go into closed session, and actually went into closed session before the end of the meeting. In this instance, the cameras continued to film an empty chamber with the exception of Anne Melichar sitting at her place. No surprise indeed.

And then, after the meeting (on Wednesday, in fact), the City Attorney, who had obviously been questioned about a legal precedent, cited a New Jersey case involving a school board member who was a plaintiff in an action against a school board. Well, if this isn't a reach. To my knowledge, Ms. Melichar is not a member of the organization which has a lawsuit against the city, nor is she a plaintiff in that case.

Ms. Melichar has been an advocate of saving the brick building portion of the power plant … just as other commissioners have been advocates for many other issues throughout the years. Most recently, two cases come to mind: the lawsuit filed against BATA and the City by two commercial property owners in town, and a lawsuit filed by a neighborhood for surprising them one morning with a power pole installed on a prominent corner in that historic district.

Unfortunately, if you are an elected public official, your advocacy can only be for issues on the "winning side."

Posted by Gadflygirl at January 8, 2005 09:19 AM


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