2015-04-03 / Front Page

City workshop minutes published

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — The minutes of workshop meetings held by the South Portland City Council were made available online for the first time March 24.

Posted minutes date back to Jan. 13, 2014. The new page on the city website, accessed under the “City Council and Agendas” tab, also includes minutes to regular city council meetings dating back to July 1, 2002.

In a story titled “Council deadlocks on transparency concern,” in the March 20 issue of the Sentry, it was stated that the city did not keep minutes of council workshop sessions. According to a March 25 email from City Manager Jim Gailey, this was incorrect. While the city has not historically published those minutes, it has produced them for council use.

“Minutes are taken during every workshop with the exception of budget workshops (which are) taped only,” Gailey wrote. “It has been a practice of not putting workshop minutes on the website. Yesterday that changed.”

In addition to not being posted online or made available in agenda packets, workshop minutes have never been publically reviewed or approved by the council. Gailey said in a follow-up email that this will continue to be standard operating procedure.

“The (workshop) minutes are taken more for capturing conversation,” he wrote. “Votes are not taken in workshop so we don’t elevate the workshop minutes to a need to approve them.”

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