On Thursday, June 2nd, the Lee’s Summit City Council—by a vote of 5 to 2—approved a motion by Councilmember Dave Mosby to require that the meetings of the Charter Review Commission for the City of Lee’s Summit be videotaped and broadcasted live.
Referring to public sessions of the Lee’s Summit City Council being broadcasted live, Mosby said that for the sake of transparency, the meetings of the Charter Review Commission should also be viewable live.
Mosby said, “We represent citizens and citizens expect transparency.” He also emphasized that he “didn’t hear any bad things or accusations” about the Charter Review Commission. Before making his motion Mosby said, “This body has a tremendous amount of power. Our actions can affect every single person in Lee’s Summit. We want to be as open as possible at all times.”
The Council’s debate on Mosby’s motion was spirited, with Councilmembers Craig Faith and Chris Moreno expressing support for the measure proposed by Mosby and Councilmembers Rob Binney and Diane Forte stating their opposition.
Faith affirmed the Commission, saying he had “not heard any accusations” or criticism about “the work product of the Commission.” Faith said “I believe transparency would only enhance knowledge of everyone involved. It does give the opportunity for others to go and be able to see it on the same level as a council meeting.”
Moreno explained that the Charter Commission considers changes to the Constitution of the City of Lee’s Summit and said that citizens deserve to see and hear what is being talked about.
Referring to constituents of his who he says had asked why City Council public sessions are broadcasted live and meetings of the Charter Review Commission are not, Moreno said, “That’s not our choice to tell them they have no right to watch this. Why shouldn’t they see presentations as they are being made? At the end of the day, it’s just good government. I support transparency.”
Mosby, Faith and Moreno made references to viewership of broadcast of public sessions of the Lee’s Summit City Council on Thursday nights, which is said to number about 6000 viewers per session, including rebroadcasts on Saturday mornings.
Forte and Binney expressed opposition to Mosby’s motion. Both referred to the Chairperson of the Charter Review Commission having expressed opposition to their meetings being broadcasted and that the majority of the Commission members had also opposed videotaping and broadcasting of their meetings.
Binney offered an amendment to Mosby’s motion to allow the Chair of the Charter Review Commission and its members to review the question of their meetings being broadcasted and “see if they would like to be televised.” Binney also said, “whatever product they come up with, at the end of the day, it still comes through this Council.”
Forte said she was concerned that Charter Review Commission meetings being broadcasted might discourage others from volunteering in the future for such roles. She also said it was unfair for the Council to act on Mosby’s motion without the Chairperson of the Commission present or its members to be able to decide if they want to be televised. Mosby responded by saying, “we already did that.”
Binney’s amendment to Mosby’s motion was voted down 5 to 2, with Councilmembers Phyllis Edson, Diane Seif, Craig Faith, Dave Mosby and Chris Moreno voting no and Rob Binney and Diane Forte voting yes.
Following defeat of Binney’s amendment to Mosby’s motion, the Council passed Mosby’s underlying motion to require that meetings of the Charter Review Commission for the City of Lee’s Summit be videotaped and broadcasted live by a repeat vote of 5 to 2.
Currently, public sessions of the Lee’s Summit City Council are broadcasted on LSTV on AT&T U-verse channel 99, Comcast channel 7 and Time Warner channel 2. LSTV is also available on any internet connected devise at watchls.net. Archived video of all public sessions of the Lee’s Summit City Council are available on demand at the City of Lee’s Summit’s website at cityofls.net.
With the Council actions last Thursday night, meetings of the Charter Review Commission may soon be viewable via live and repeated broadcasts and online in real time or through archives on demand on the City’s website at cityofls.net.
The Charter Review Commission provides citizens an opportunity to directly participate in shaping the Charter to meet the City’s needs in such areas as public services, efficiency of resources, effective local democracy and the aspirations of the City as a whole.
The Charter Review Commission was established for the purpose of reviewing the Charter for the City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to determine whether or not the Charter will adequately serve the community into the future and to report to the voters as many amendments to the Charter as the Commission deems advisable.
Meetings are open to the public and held on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall at 220 SE Green Street.