Seven of the 11 members of Cuyahoga County Council favor moving the twice-monthly, Tuesday meeting times from 6 p.m. to 3 p.m. We know that because Council President C. Ellen Connally instructed a clerk to take an "email straw poll" of council members, a move which transparency advocates say violates Sunshine laws.
The PD reported on the issue last week. Connally decided against trying to fast-track the legislation at the last meeting.
The possible move is important for a few reasons: the afternoon meeting time is not convenient for anyone who works; while Connally contends an earlier time would allow council to get back to their wards for other meetings and block parties, at least one council member worried that the 3 p.m. slot would make it hard for them to hold down other jobs; and county employees earn time off for attending council meetings after the workday and one council member says an earlier slot would save that cash.
Mostly, however, the latest gotcha moment with Connally provides yet another opportunity for a patented Connally soundbite. At this point, she doesn't even bother trying to hide her contempt for the PD and the public. When asked by the paper about the "secrecy," she had this to say.
"I don't understand the big problem here," Connally said. "The easiest thing was just to do a poll. We made absolutely no decision based on that [survey]. . . This is no violation of the sunshine law because no decision was ever made."
Connally also dismissed suggestions that afternoon meetings would discourage public attendance, saying few people have taken advantage of evening meetings.
To be fair, if Connally had her way, meetings would be held twice a month at her home while she watched soap operas.
And when asked her thoughts on a citizen committee's recommendation that meetings be held at evening to accommodate folks can't attend until after work, she had another dynamite soundbite.
It's listed below, but you'll have to guess which one in a little game we'll play called "Ron Swanson or C. Ellen Connally." For those of you who don't watch Parks & Recreation, Ron Swanson is the public-hating Libertarian head of the Parks & Rec department. His hatred for government is exceeded only by his hatred of the common man. We've assembled a collection of quotes from both Connally and Swanson. Guess who said what. Answers at the end. (And yes, in this scenario, the PD is "Pawnee Today.")