In a written statement issued last week, CA spokeswoman Pamela Mack said the policy "recognizes that there are times when an individual council member may request information that requires the lengthy expenditure of staff time, research and analysis or may involve confidential personnel information.
"In such a case, the procedures provide for referral to the full council to insure that it is the council's desire to expend that level of staff time or resources on the request," the CA statement said.
But that explanation is more detailed than the policy, which simply states that CA staff need only identify a request as "potentially problematic" to kick it back to the board.
"This is not phrased well," acknowledged CA President Padraic M. Kennedy. "It's more about expenditures of resources rather than access of information. It probably could have been phrased more clearly and felicitously."
Nonetheless, Mr. Kennedy maintained that the policy does not violate state law. And CA staff have never used it to block information requests, he said.
But the policy has come into play on at least two occasions.
Mr. Rees said that when he was on the council two years ago, staff tried to use the policy to not fulfill his request for information about CA salaries. That effort ended with the council barely overriding CA staff objections to providing the information, he said.
And during a March 14 council meeting, when Ms. Rose said she wanted more information from CA staff about a proposed ice rink, council Chairwoman Karen A. Kuecker said CA staff could tell the council if they thought the information would take too much time to compile.
Ms. Rose is the only council member who does not agree with the CA staff recommendation to build the ice rink. Her information request did not come up again at the one council meeting since March 14.
Ms. Kuecker, who was one of only two council members who voted against the policy two years ago, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Pub Date: 4/07/96