Saturday, March 9, 2019

LNP applauds Columbia residents for questioning Borough Council's private meetings

Sunshine needed

We applaud the Columbia residents who recently questioned why the Columbia Borough Council was holding information sessions in private prior to most of its public meetings.

Resident Sharon Lintner helped create the Columbia Concerned Citizens group and is seeking a seat on council in this year's election. She filed a complaint with the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office alleging council violated the state's open-meetings law — known as the Sunshine Act — when it voted in a closed-door meeting in November to fund a proposed new position. (Lintner is a former LNP correspondent.)

The DA's office decided not to investigate, saying it could not prove there was intent to violate the law. But it sent the borough a letter warning that future allegations would be investigated.

"We are suspicious of how much is going on behind closed doors," Lintner told LNP last month.

Council President Kelly Murphy told LNP the board doesn't deliberate or vote during information sessions.

We hope this is the case. And we're cheered that folks in Columbia are keeping an eye on the workings of their elected officials.

This is a good moment to point out that Sunday is the start of Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of access to public information. According to , a website filled with great tools, ideas and resources, "Sunshine Week lasts seven days, but it's up to all of us to keep the sun shining on government all year."


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