Sixteen items from the Public Works committee were not properly noticed, said City Administrator Ben Hughes. State law requires all items on a governmental body's agenda to be made public 24 hours before the start of the meeting. The law is designed to prevent government officials from discussing or passing laws without telling anyone about them.
The 16 items before the Council on Thursday appear to be routine business (see the agenda here). The special meeting could last less than 10 minutes.
Hughes said the special meeting was called because the city needed to take action on some of the items before its next regularly scheduled meeting. However, none of the items qualified as an "emergency," which would have allowed the council to suspend the rules Tuesday and vote despite not giving proper notice.
"When government makes a mistake, we of all people have to own up to it," Hughes said.
In an e-mail to City Council members Wednesday, Hughes said the error was an employee mistake. He took responsibility for the error, and promised that checks and safeguards would be put into place to prevent future omissions from agendas.
Hughes noted that it was the third time in the six months that he had been administrator that there had been a problem with the City Council's agenda.
Here's an excerpt from his letter:
I fully recognize that these mistakes are publicly embarrassing to you as elected officials and to the city government as a whole. These errors tend to erode the overall confidence that our citizens have with our government. I personally accept responsibility for the errors and I also want you to know that I will be addressing this issue in a firm and clear manner with our 13 department heads. Mistakes are human and understandable; repeated mistakes on the same issue are unacceptable.