Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.
|While the dais is empty, about 25 citizens are waiting.|
People who visit Bethlehem Township Commissioners for a meeting can usually set their clocks back 15 minutes or longer. That’s because, with increasing frequency, Commissioners are huddled in a back room. When they come out, there will eventually be announcement that they were in Executive Session for “litigation” (the litigation is never described) or personnel matters. They almost never take any formal action on whatever was discussed behind closed doors. This breeds suspicion. As stated expressly in the Sunshine Act, “[S]ecrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public’s effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society.”
In addition to being secretive, this behavior is rude. Other municipal bodies have more respect for the citizenry than to schedule a meeting and then force the public to wait because a chosen few are cowered in some dark corner. These executive sessions should occur, if at all, after the people’s business has been concluded.