By Tommy Smigiel
Sorry for the delay on posting the agenda items for this Tuesday. I had some difficulty downloading the agendas and some of the item specifics were deleted by accident from my drop box.
City Council was off last week, and this week doesn’t offer anything exciting on the agenda. Some may question R-7, which is an ordinance adding language giving the City Manager discretion on limited severance pay to Department Heads, Assistant City Manager’s etc. when separating from the city. Our neighbors have similiar provisions and this will help clarify what our manager can and can’t do. What made this item more controversial is how council conducted the initial discussion.
The Virginian-Pilot ran this story about the legality of City Council holding the closed session to discuss the ordinance. At the time, it didn’t even cross my mind that we were doing anything wrong. The Council relies on the City Attorney to guide and give us legal advice on Virginia’s Sunshine Laws. But, we all need to be diligent in our committment to the spirit and letter if the law. I’ll be spending some time this week brushing up on the law so that I can better challenge the process if needed. This is one of the reasons why I joined the Virginia Coalition for Open Government earlier this year. I had a nice conversation with Megan Rhyne, the executive director of VCOG after I found out the Virginian-Pilot was working on the story. She gave me some great information and advice on the complicated law. Hey, I’m still learning.
On another note, I had a wonderful time today at the Sustainable Living Fair at Old Dominion University. I was asked to deliver the introduction for an outstanding champion on children eating healthier. The keynote speaker was Tony Geraci (Chef G), and you can find out more on his mission to bring healthy eating to the children of Baltimore City Public Schools by clicking here. I left inspired, wanting to do more to make sure our kids in Norfolk can get a healthy breakfast each morning. Bev Sell with the Norfolk 5 Points Community Farm Market did an outstanding job organizing the event this weekend. Thanks Bev for all that you do to educate our citizens on these new initiatives.