Editorial: This is not a Joke, Corvallis’ Leadership Committee Should be Transparent

We promise no actual news was harmed in the production of today’s April Fools’ stories – and now we want to draw your attention to the fact that we didn’t make up the Corvallis’ Leadership Committee.  

It’s a real thing, and we think you should be asking your Mayor and City Council to change it.  

These are city staff and electeds that meet without any public notice or access, even though Oregon’s public meetings law says they can’t do that. Even if they were meeting in executive session, they would be obligated to notify the public and permit press, and they don’t do that either. 

And this is no small thing, it is the group that directed City Attorney Jim Brewer to draft a resolution seeking to unseat Ward 5 City Councilor Charlyn Ellis. And even if you believe they’re right to do that, we think you can still agree they should encounter the checks and balances envisioned in our state’s laws. 

After all, the idea behind Oregon’s public meetings law is we should all know what our government is doing, and why. It’s an opportunity for accountability. 

So, who are the five folks that make up the Leadership Committee, and why aren’t they complying with state law. First, that would be the mayor, the city council’s president and vice-president, the city manager, and the city attorney – which looks and sounds like a government meeting, right. 

Not so fast. The City maintains the committee is tasked with ‘advising’ the mayor, and he is not a governing body. So presto-change-o, that directive to the city attorney to draft the Ellis resolution wasn’t governing at all – even though all the members said it was, in fact, a group decision. 

By now, you may think this is just another April Fools’ Day story – it’s not. Like the saying goes, democracy dies in the dark, so please ask your mayor and city council to give public notice and access for Leadership Committee meetings. 

Do you have a story for The Advocate? Email editor@corvallisadvocate.com