Hebron plan to hold email meeting canceled

2013-10-16T18:15:00Z 2013-10-16T20:08:01Z Hebron plan to hold email meeting canceledPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
October 16, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

HEBRON | The announcement the council planned to hold a potentially historic meeting on Friday had to be quickly withdrawn after town officials were notified the historic element also was illegal.

The council announced it would hold a special meeting at 8 a.m. Friday "by email." The meeting was organized despite Councilwoman Joyce Kaczmarski telling the rest of the members she didn't have email.

The meeting was called because of actions requested by two residents on their utility bills and another who wanted permission to use the utility department access road to gain access to his own property. All three actions are considered routine.

Dale Brewer, paralegal for the Indiana Public Access Counselor's office, said holding a meeting via email was not only difficult in terms of the council members trying to interact, it also is not allowed under the state's open meetings law despite the fact the emails could be made available to the public later.

"It's not like they are meeting in executive session," Brewer said. "What they are doing is circumventing the public. If there is to be a vote, it has to be at a public meeting. This is the first time I've heard of this in the year and a half I've been here."

Council President Don Ensign said he questioned the suggestion following Tuesday's regular council meeting.

"I said I was not comfortable with it, and it was not right," Ensign said.

The idea was floated after the residents came up to the council after the meeting and asked about having their issues resolved. Ensign said he didn't understand why they didn't speak up during the meeting when he asked for public comments or questions. After the meeting was too late to do anything.

With the email meeting deemed illegal, he said a special meeting will be set up next week to handle the matters.

"It will probably be a five-minute meeting," he said.

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