Council's swanky lunch a Sunshine law violation?

Incoming Council president Darrell Clarke is hosting a meet-and-greet luncheon with returning and incoming members at the Capital Grille in Center City this afternoon –raising questions as to whether it will constitute a violation of the Sunshine Act.

The meeting was held in a private room at the back of the restaurant at 1 p.m.  Members had to walk through the kitchen to get to the dining area to reach Clarke and members Bill Greenlee, Bill Green, Wilson Goode Jr., Marian Tasco, Jim Kenney, Curtis Jones Jr., Brian O’Neill and Blondell Reynolds Brown. Incoming members Cindy Bass, David Oh and Bobby Henon also showed-up.

According to the Sunshine Act at least nine current members would need to be present to constitute a quorum of the body. Clarke insisted that no public business would be conducted during the lunch. Yet, at least three members said there would be some discussion about official business.

Clarke said it was a chance for current and soon-to-be members to get to know each other.

“There is no official city business being discussed at this event period," Clarke said. "It’s the first time that the 2012 class will have an opportunity to just sit in a room and just kind of bond."

So who’s picking up the hefty tab?

While it’s not yet entirely clear, Reynolds Brown said in the past retiring Council president Anna Verna would pick-up the check. Other members described the lunch as part of a tradition that occurred roughly every term.

Reynolds Brown said it was made clear that there would be no discussion about budgets and committee assignments adding, “To their surprise they learned that’s not on the agenda here.”

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