The Media Removed from a Public Meeting

Who says local politics has to be boring?

The Sioux Falls City Council fired its veteran city clerk and chief of operations Wednesday after meeting for several hours behind closed doors this week.

That isn’t too bad, in essence it is a personnel issue, and like most personnel issues, should be discussed in executive session.

After the vote is taken….
(from the Argus Leader)

Minutes later, two police officers asked members of the media to leave the building. Meanwhile, Owen was taken to a back room, where she surrenered her keys and work badge.

Why ask the media to leave a public building, during a public forum?  Keloland news asked that very same question.

Shortly after the meeting, KELOLAND camera crews were told by police to leave city hall. In a phone call after the meeting, Mayor Huether said the decision was made because “during the executive session there were decisions made and the council moved forward.”

That is about the most non-answer ever.

The reasons for dismissing former Sioux Falls City Clerk Debra Owen,  Can be kept secret, it is after all a personnel matter.  The city should remain mute.  If the Mrs. Owen want to reveal why she was dismissed, that is her choice.

To have the police remove the media from a public forum is blinding the public from its government.  Is this something learned from the Obamacare negotiations?  They mayor and the council is an employee of the people of Sioux Falls, and he was hiding what he was doing.  If I tried to hide what I was doing at my job from my employer, on their time, I would be thrown out on my ear.  If he doesn’t treat media, and the public with a little more respect, he just might be joining  Mrs. Owen

19 Replies to “The Media Removed from a Public Meeting”

  1. Duh

    As far as I know, state law prohibits the disclosure of the contents of Executive meetings. I agree with open government, but sometimes the issues are too personal that we really don’t need to know. A councilman said that no state laws were broken, it’s not about public monies and no criminal action occurred. It was purely a personality conflict.

      1. BF

        I agree, the media should not have been removed. The people who were fired have no obligation to maintain silence, nor does the press.

  2. duggersd

    Why did the media leave? I would think a reporter at the AL or KELO or any other outlet would have forced the issue and made the police arrest them. THEN there would have been a story.

  3. Anonymous

    Was the meeting over? Was the Executive Session concluded?

    If the first answer is “no” and the second answer is “yes”, then there’s a problem. If the answer to both questions is the same, however, then there isn’t a problem.

    But from the report and the above post, I cannot answer either with confidence.

  4. Tim Higgins

    Mayor Huether said the decision was made because ?during the executive session there were decisions made and the council moved forward.?

    It has always been my understanding that no decisions could be made in executive session

  5. Name

    Amazing how when it’s a bunch of Democrats (Huether, Erpenbach) doing these things, the libs are silent on party. If it were Republicans, Heidelberger would be calling them teabaggers.

    1. BF

      Baloney. Both Cory and I are Democrats, and at least one of us said it was a stupid call. The First Amendment is not a partisan issue, as much as the GOP would love to claim it for themselves.

      1. PNR

        Amen, BF. How one can write this after caheidelberger just got done saying their explanation was as dumb as their action is beyond me.

        Dumb is also bi-partisan, it seems. 🙂

  6. Lee Schoenbeck

    this removing the media from a publci media thing is too wierd. What alternative universe (with an alternative constitution) does Heuther think he landed on? Having this happen in South Dakota is VERY offensive.