Transparancy in Grand Rapids City Council Cover Letter


May 11, 2015

Ms. Kim Johnson-Gibeau, Clerk
City of Grand Rapids, Minnesota
420 N. Pokegama Avenue
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Ms. Johnson-Gibeau:

As a result of certain questions arising from the Minutes of the City Council meeting held on March 9, 2015, we at Grand Rapids Voice were concerned about the transparency and completeness of the Official Record of City Council proceedings for all City Council proceedings. These questions prompted a Letter to the Editor which was published in the Grand Rapids Herald Review on Sunday, April 26, 2015, which outlined the concerns of Grand Rapids Voice. A copy of the Letter to the Editor entitled “Transparency in Grand Rapids City Council” is attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated by reference.

In addition, on April 10, 2015, Ron Niemala sent an E-Mail to yourself requesting an explanation why the record (Minutes of the March 9, 2015, City Council meeting) did not accurately reflect comments and concerns made by himself and Robert Ward of Grand Rapids. You responded to the E-Mail submitted by Mr. Niemala with comments regarding the Minutes of the meeting and referencing the audio and video record.

While your response attempted to answer the concerns presented, Grand Rapids Voice believes that there are serious questions regarding the existence of a complete, accurate and permanent record of all City Council proceedings. Based upon your response to Mr. Niemala, Grand Rapids Voice has prepared a set of queries that must be answered. The queries entitled “Transparency of Record” are attached hereto as Exhibit B and are incorporated herein by reference. We respectfully ask you to submit this letter, together with attached Exhibits, to the following individuals for response:

• Mayor Dale Adams
• Councilor Rick Blake
• Councilor Rick Christy
• Councilor Ed Zabinski
• Councilor Bill Zeige
• City Attorney Chad Sterle

We request that the City respond to each of the queries presented in writing and such queries be answered individually together with explanations for each answer and returned to Grand Rapids Voice through the undersigned. The requested response may be responses prepared by the above individually or by the above parties collectively. Whether individual responses or a collective response, the response made to Grand Rapids Voice will be taken as the City’s official response regarding this matter. We respectfully request that the official response of the City be returned to Grand Rapids Voice on or before June 10, 2015.

The sole purpose of this inquiry is to ensure the residents and taxpayers of the City of Grand Rapids have available to them a full, complete, accurate and permanent record of City Council meetings and proceedings. Without having such a full, complete, accurate and permanent record, there will always be the appearance of lack of transparency and secrecy.

Respectfully,

Grand Rapids Voice

By: _____________________________
John Nelson

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