State News

Raleigh councilors concerned about colleagues’ private meetings

Posted September 21, 2008 12:02 p.m. EDT
Updated September 21, 2008 3:50 p.m. EDT

— Four members of the Raleigh City Council have met in private to discuss city business, which the other four council members and the mayor say is improper and unethical.

Councilman Rodger Koopman told The News & Observer that he and council members Thomas Crowder, Russ Stephenson and Nancy McFarlane are involved in the meetings.

Koopman, who with McFarlane joined the council in December, said the foursome has spoken on telephone conference calls once or twice. Koopman said that more frequently, they meet in person.

Raleigh City Attorney Thomas McCormick and Amanda Martin, lawyer for the N.C. Press Association, said the meetings do not violate the state Open Meetings Law.

Mayor Charles Meeker said the meetings should not occur, because four votes is enough to keep an issue from being decided.

The foursome holds a majority of votes on the three-member Comprehensive Planning and Public Works committees, according to the City of Raleigh's Web site. Crowder – who co-chairs with Meeker – and McFarlane sit on the four-member Budget and Economic Development Committee.

City Council members are divided onto four subcommittees, including the Law and Public Safety Committee.