Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An anti-consolidation group?

Douglas City Councilman Greg Harvath dropped a bombshell at last night’s meeting — an anti-consolidation group is forming and should be invited to address the city council.

After the meeting, reporters asked Harvath more about his announcement:

• Who’s forming the group?

• Who’s in it?

• When do they meet?

Harvath refused to answer, saying only that as journalists, the reporters should find out that information. That’s a reporter’s job, he said.

He did drop a hint, saying the reporters should read their own stories from the last city council meeting to find out who’s in the group.

The previous council meeting (on Nov. 14) was a closed session to get “opinion from legal counsel” about consolidation.

Councilwoman Lisa Greenwood said Monday (Nov. 21) the council knew at the Nov. 14 meeting about the anti-consolidation group.

Former Douglas Mayor Matt Balmer spoke at that Nov. 14 meeting. He said in an email today that he doesn’t know of any anti-consolidation group, though he is aware of people gathering information on the pros and cons of consolidation.

Former Mayor Renee Waddell was also at that Nov. 14 meeting. She said that night that she opposes consolidation.

Earlier today, she said she is working with an informal group of people who are not anti-consolidation but are asking more in depth questions relating to the two consolidation studies.

Other than the pro-consolidation people — Jim Storey, Frank Lamb and Steve Hutchins — at that Nov. 14 meeting, there was one other man who waited outside as the council met in closed session. He did not speak to reporters and did not address the council when it came back to open session.

Councilman Eric Smith said Monday (Nov. 21) he would welcome the new anti-consolidation group to talk to the council, but added that the new group’s information might not be accurate.

“I want our city manager to supply us with accurate information,” Smith said.

The council on Nov. 14 instructed City Manager Bill LeFevere to get more details on consolidation.

He is working in a preliminary analysis that will have information — “enough to form an initial conclusion” about consolidation’s impact on Douglas, he said last night.

He will have that information in two to three weeks.

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