Opinion: Ruby Bowman: If it looks like a duck, it’s a duck

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Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash

At the city council work session on July 20, Mayor Bagley and city council
members assembled in the study session room to discuss the city’s draft
prairie dog law, which was the only agenda discussion topic of the work
session. Work sessions are supposed to be informal gatherings of council
members to catch up on city issues such as council liaisons’ reports for
city advisory boards they serve on. “Council may not make motions or take
any type of formal action at a working session,” according to City Council’s
Rules of Procedure. Doing so would be in violation of the rules council
approved on February 13, 2018 regarding limitations on work sessions.

I attended the July 20 morning work session and was surprised to see city
staff members from the Natural Resources, Legal, and Planning departments in
attendance. They were there to address any questions council may have
regarding the draft law. Members of the public even had a chance to offer
their comments on the law during a Public Invited to Be Heard session. Just
like at a study or regular session, members of the public were given three
minutes to speak. There is a saying that goes: If it looks like a duck and
walks like a duck, it is a duck. The work session on July 20 resembled the
proceedings of a council study session. Although council cannot formally
provide direction on changes to the draft law, they came awfully close to
doing so at the work session.

I hope city council’s Friday work sessions do not end up becoming de-facto
study sessions for discussion of city policy. We should have open and
transparent government in Longmont where residents have an opportunity to
attend and participate in these seemingly de-facto study sessions at a time
that is convenient for the public, such as at 7 PM, and in the city council
chambers.

Ruby Bowman

Longmont, CO 80501


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