Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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Remember the angry denials that city council and the school board have already reached a hush-hush quid pro quos to evict the Easter Seals from the Child Development Center site in exchange for council having approved the school renovation grant application? Yeah, well, at its meeting last Sunday night the council acknowledged there is a secret deal in place.

 

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Remember the angry denials that city council and the school board have already reached a hush-hush quid pro quos to evict the Easter Seals from the Child Development Center site in exchange for council having approved the school renovation grant application? Yeah, well, at its meeting last Sunday night the council acknowledged there is a secret deal in place. And the big public show about creating a task force to see how the city can work with Easter Seals? Yeah, that was diluted at the Sunday meeting too.

Wait, what? You did not hear about the Sunday night meeting? Dude, you are so out of the loop.

Far from public scrutiny, the Falls Church City Council held an unnoticed out-of-session meeting Sunday evening to discuss its controversial plans for the CDC site. The meeting was held via email, with council members commenting in a string which included all council members, two members of the school board, city staff and representatives from Easter Seals. Other than the emails, no minutes or recordings were kept of the out-of-session meeting.

Council member Johannah Barry blamed city staff for dragging the council into public discussion about the Easter Seals site. Her position, shared by council member Ira Kaylin, is the council already made an arrangement with school board leaders to evict the Easter Seals and hand the property over to the schools in exchange for the council approving the school renovation grant and the council majority having a handshake deal with the school board leadership that they would not make any capital improvement plan budget requests before 2017.
Mrs. Barry wrote, “… City staff have inserted Council into a debate which was well underway when the TJ expansion issue came before Council … It was my understanding, which I believe has been confirmed by Pat Riccards, that the CDC was an integral part of the Mount Daniel/TJ expansion initiative. …”

Mayor Baroukh also pronounced he was not going to allow the task force he trumpeted at the public meeting to actually meet until there was agreement on how to limit its ability to help the Easter Seals. “… The scope of work for the task force needs to be agree [sic] to council before any meetings go forward …”

The email exchanges all made within a few hours late on Sunday evening alarmed school board chair Joan Wodiska. She wrote:
” … DO NOT REPLY ALL —- DOING SO VIOLATES OPEN MEETING LAW

“No further electronic communication should occur on this matter.

“As the Chair of the School Board, I would again remind City Council members you cannot legally “reply all” – doing so violates open meeting law. By way of this email, I am referring this matter to the City Attorney for immediate action and remediation. All records from these exchanges must be made available to the public and steps will have to be taken to re mediate this matter. …”

Wodiska is such a party pooper. Being an elected official is so much easier when you do it secretly.

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.