A City Council committee considering a cable television franchise for Verizon has faced an odd time-line today. The public hearing, due to start at 9 a.m., didn't being until almost 11 a.m. Reporters wandering City Hall learned committee members were gathered in Councilman Bill Greenlee's office. Staffers there denied that such a meeting was going on. But then, after nearly an hour, most of the Council members on the committee emerged.
What gives? Why did a public hearing start with a secret meeting? Councilman Darrell Clarke, chairman of the committee and the sponsor of the legislation for the Verizon franchise, said he and his colleagues needed to speak with staff attorneys about the issue. "We were discussing some procedural issues as to what the committee will do," said Clarke, adding that he didn't think the meeting violated the state's Sunshine Act, which sets out which municipal meetings must be conducted in public.
The Committee started its hearing but then adjourned to allow Council's regular Thursday session to start, with the invocation and the reading of resolutions honoring some guests. Council then adjourned to let the committee continue with Verizon. Council will resume its regular session when the committee is finished with Verizon.