Secret ballot

January 11, 2007 12:00 am

The Baker City Council's Tuesday night, besides being , was the wrong thing to do and set the wrong tone for the future of a new — and we had hoped improved — City Council.

The new council should not conduct any of the public's business in secrecy unless absolutely necessary and allowed by law. Past practice has called for a mayor to be nominated in a public motion and elected by a public vote of the council.

Tuesday night's action was inexcusable. There is no defense for a secret ballot. Did councilors want to avoid hurting one of their fellow member's feelings?

If councilors are that thin-skinned, they should quit now to avoid being offended. Tuesday night's meeting was just the beginning of four years in which they will be subjected to public scrutiny.

Buck up. If you make a decision, be prepared to make a stand.

And while they're making amends for Tuesday's misstep, we'd like to see the councilors to the public.

Just as the city did before Jerry Gillham was hired, the five candidates should be presented during a public forum at which community residents would be allowed to meet them and ask questions.

Conducting the public's business in secrecy is not an option. Shame on city administrators and city councilors who should know better.