I attended the monthly meeting of Jim Thorpe Borough Council held a Memorial Hall on Feb. 10, 2011. At the previous meeting held Jan. 13, an agenda item was voiced by a borough resident advising council that an agenda item for public comment was out of order.
Adding this item should have preceded item for decision on approval and not follow it so as to be in compliance with the Sunshine Law. Council so noted this oversight for matter of record. The agenda for meeting on Feb. 10 reflected this change. The meeting also engaged in interacting dialogue with those in attendance and with various council members beginning with the Mayor's report and followed by public comments. This now became a matter of interest for me and the decision to pursue it further was made. What follows are the findings for clarification on awareness.
A phone discussion with Louise McClafferdy, borough secretary, regarding who decides meeting agenda items: who prepares the agenda; and is there approval on acceptance before the meeting also the source for requirements on agenda format. The secretary answered the first three saying meeting agenda items are usually obtained from mail addressed to the manager or full council which is received on a month-to-month basis, the agenda is prepared by the manager with help from the secretary then it's presented to the president of council. As to the question regarding source of agenda format she referred me to the council solicitor.
Solicitor Nanovic was contacted and advised source for agenda format goes by Borough Code. Each municipality follows it's own format via the Borough Manager and is prepared by the borough secretary. Order is undefined at the local level of government. Local municipalities are allowed to set their own format on order as long as it follows undefined parliamentary procedure.
The legislative intent of the Act is "the basic intent of the Sunshine legislation is that people are the only legitimate foundation of power and it is from them that the constitutional charter is derived."
In my opinion legislators are the authorities on law and order and at the local level of government, given these circumstances, borough codes are the acceptable procedures of order. I found the borough council meeting Feb. 10 a productive and orderly event. It was a good meeting.
Kathleen F. Jones,