In a memo to council members on Wednesday, which mentions a local political party but doesn’t name Progressive Dane, May wrote, “I was deeply disturbed to hear reports this week that seven or eight alders met privately to discuss matters on the City Council agenda. Such meetings almost certainly involve negative quorums on some issues and thus, under the Showers (state Supreme Court) decision, could easily be violations of the Open Meetings Law.
“At this point, I have not done or requested any further inquiry on the reports I received,” May wrote. “I urge you to be very careful in your private meetings and discontinue those involving more than five alders, unless the meetings are properly noticed.”
At least one council member, Ald. Barbara Harrington-McKinney, 1st District, has formally requested additional follow-up and sanctions. “This warning is not sufficient for me,” she wrote in an email to May.
Meetings between the board’s leadership and leaders of some of its key committees, first reported by a local blogger, raise questions about whether the board is violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the state open meetings law, as well as why county leaders feel the meetings need to be secret at a time when the board has been making a concerted effort to interest the public in its work.