Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Legal Implications of the Backchannel

An interesting article today on the front page of the local paper. Councilman upset about members e-mailing each other during meetings

The main thrust of the article is whether or not council persons' use of email during city council meetings is a violation of open meeting law. Is the public's right to the full and open discussion of a topic being infringed?
[Council president] Childers said the communications were appropriate because they dealt with a topic on the table. He also said he does not see a meaningful distinction between an e-mail during a meeting and a council person leaning over and whispering in another's ear, a frequent occurrence.
I suppose the comparison is a fair one, but the use of email (chat, twitter, txt, etc) does seem to violate the open intent of transparent, democratic discussion.

Perhaps the council needs to start using Twittercamp ;)

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