Transparency not adequately addressed in city, EDP agreement
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:00 AM
It was rather curious that at Tuesday night's Madison City Council meeting Mayor Damon Welch made no reference to the fact that earlier in the day the Board of Works signed off on funding of the Economic Development Partners.
After a year-long discussion of the city's relationship with EDP, the signing deserved at least a mention.
That omission is an example of the problem the city has created for itself - a lack of communication with the public.
The city's contract and memorandum of understanding with EDP are vague and don't address transparency adequately.
The contract for services agreed upon by the city and EDP does address ways in which EDP will convey to the public what it is doing, but it leaves us wondering how serious EDP and the city are about transparency.
At best, it's vague.
The contract states: "The Partners shall prepare and publish quarterly reports and an annual report to be provided to the City and made available to the public. The annual report must involve a metrics to measure results, financial statements and additional tools to measure accountability.
"The Partners shall conduct an annual meeting that is open to the public. Additionally, the Partners shall conduct monthly public information sessions. Said public information sessions shall occur either before or after the Partners' monthly meetings and members of the Partners and the Executive Director shall be in attendance."
That's not good enough.
Why aren't the meetings open with the understanding that some issues will need to be discussed in executive sessions?
Will meeting minutes be made available?
Will the public have complete access to all financial records?
What are the metrics EDP has agreed to provide. Why wasn't that included in the memorandum of understanding.
We need more specifics to make us believe that the city and EDP are truly interested in operating in a transparent fashion.