By LEADER STAFF
By law, all the city’s legal business is public record.
By statute, every lawsuit and settlement are public record.
In reality, the city’s business inside the city solicitor’s office is a closely guarded secret unless someone asks.
Councilor Gerly Adrien and Councilor Fred Capone favored having the city solicitor’s office provide all this information semi-annually as a matter of increasing transparency about the city’s business.
In fact, the mayor has been touting his belief that transparency above all is what he wants to achieve.
But when push came to shove, City Solicitor Colleen Mejia told the council that she would choose privacy over transparency in this instance as a measure of prudence.
She said not all of the city’s business can be broadcast like a press release.
As it stands, the public is allowed to petition the city for information about lawsuits and settlements and all legal proceedings the city is involved with.
However, if the city is not forced to publish such legal entanglements, it then becomes a bit of an investigation to find out exactly what the city is doing.
In many instances, the city is doing legal work or paying for outside legal counsel on im- portant matters without having to come clean about the particulars.
Not all residents and taxpayers are able to search out the Register of Probate or the criminal and civil matters before the Superior Court.
Adrien pleaded for more transparency.
“All information from our city should be readily available,” she urged her colleagues.
The measure failed.
Only Adrien and Capone voted for it. Nine members voted against it.