At one point during a Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council discussion about closed meetings of public bodies, a distinguished lobbyist for local government argued secrecy is necessary to, as he put it, keep the stupid in the room.
Turns out, we could tell him something about that.
The closed door session at which three Peninsula Airport Commissioners decided to guarantee a loan to People Express Airlines makes clear the appalling risks when public bodies make decisions in secret. That deal cost $4.5 million in public funds.
We never had a chance to understand the concerns of the only commissioner to express his opposition, behind those closed doors, because when it came time to vote all he felt he could do in public was abstain. Read more…