January 22, 2012

Policy Question


Here’s a policy question for the City of Coeur d’Alene:  What is the City’s written policy regarding reading citizen letters into the minutes of City Council meetings? 

At the City Council meeting on January 17, 2012, the City Clerk and City Administrator read six letters into the minutes of that Council meeting.  The letters were all in opposition to the public vote on the McEuen Field project.

But please see my December 12, 2011,  OpenCdA post titled Measuring Public Officials’ Performance.  In it I included a link to a letter from Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes to Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem. Hayes’ letter totally refuted Councilman Mike Kennedy’s deceptive rant uttered at the December 6, 2012, City Council meeting.  In the last paragraph of his letter, Hayes said:

If you would consider reading this letter into the record at your next Council meeting, I’d appreciate it.
You and the Council conveyed so much confusion about this canvass situation; it would be nice to set the
record straight for the public.  I will understand if you choose not to do this, however.

Needless to say, Hayes’ request was not honored, and his letter was not read into the minutes of the Council meeting.

So again I ask, what is the City’s written policy regarding the reading of letters into the minutes of a Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting?



  1. Send the letter to council and ask them to read it into the record. I am sure you will get an answer.

    Comment by Joe Six-Pack — January 22, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  2. The city has a policy manual beyond various state codes? What is a Policy Manual anyway? Who gets to say what policies are to be policy? The Mayor, City Administrator, City Attorney.

    I think a councilman can direct, note I said ‘direct’ that a document be placed in the minutes for the instance at hand.

    Comment by Gary Ingram — January 23, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  3. Joe Six-Pack,

    The same answer Cliff Hayes got, no doubt.

    Comment by Bill — January 23, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  4. Gary Ingram,

    I think it is a bad practice, one that the City should never have allowed at the January 17 meeting. But if it is a practice the City is going to allow, then it should be a policy of the Council with an associated procedure to be followed to have a letter read into the minutes. However, once the policy is in place and the submission procedure followed, the City must then read the letter verbatim into the minutes.

    If the number of in-person speakers favoring the public vote had been ten more than the number opposing it, would the number of “unsolicited” letters against the vote have miraculously been twelve or fourteen?

    Comment by Bill — January 23, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

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