Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The Billings City Council has faxed over a Notice of Executive Session for a luncheon meeting on Wednesday, July 30, at Jake's Restaurant to discuss hiring a new city administrator. According to the fax, "The meeting will be a closed (their emphasis) session. The public right to know does not supercede the individuals' right to privacy concerning the personal nature of the information to be discussed."

Gee, that sounds exactly like the thing that KTVQ and The Billings Gazette protested when the school board hired a new superintendent. Isn't this the same problem? Privacy hardly seems to be the issue here. The council already waded through background checks at an earlier closed meeting. It's hard to imagine that any of the three finalists for city administrator still has anything in his background so dark that protecting him from embarrassment outweighs the public's obvious interest in hearing and participating in the debate about the new administrator. If such secrets do exist, maybe he shouldn't be a finalist.

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