At the April 11, 2016 meeting of the Columbia Borough Council, Council President Kelly Murphy read from a prepared statement explaining the borough's policy on transparency and presenting a new process by which the borough will post draft agendas on its website before meetings are held. The text of the statement, which was provided to Columbia Spy by Murphy, is published here:
"At no time has Council or the Borough of Columbia purposely failed to disclose, or to conceal from the public, items which will be discussed at its public meetings. Rather, the Borough’s process has historically (at least the 8+ years I have been on council) been to complete its agenda on the day of a meeting, which has made production of Borough’s agenda prior to the meeting difficult.
Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia has always been and intends to continue to be completely transparent with respect to its activities and the matters that it votes on. We encourage residents from the Borough of Columbia to appear at all meetings and to actively participate in discussion regarding Borough items. Many if not all of the items on Council’s agenda every month have previously been discussed at a public Committee meeting.
The Borough Manager and Council President are developing a new internal process to have agendas developed and finalized by Thursday or Friday of the week immediately prior to a Borough Council meeting and to have that agenda posted on the Borough’s website, along with the documents which are to be approved or discussed pursuant to that agenda. At no time has the current process violated Sunshine or Right To Know laws."
Recently, questions were raised regarding the availability of public documents requested from Columbia Borough through the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. The borough was also criticized in a Lancaster Newspapers editorial focusing on compliance with Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act.