The West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees has approved a resolution stating closed session minutes no longer have to be approved by the township board.
Trustees Howard Rosenberg, Larry Brown, and Gene Farber; and Clerk Catherine Shaughnessy voted in favor of striking the existing policy. Trustee Steve Kaplan, Treasurer Teri Weingarden and Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste voted against ending it.
The move comes six months after the township adopted a policy on Jan. 10 requiring approval of closed session minutes by the board in an open session.
As part of a system put together by Shaughnessy, each board member received a copy of closed session minutes in a sealed envelope with their name on it so that the minutes could be reviewed. Then it was up to the board members to return their copies of the minutes to Shaughnessy at the end of the next board meeting, after they were approved by the board. The copies would then be shredded and the Clerk’s Office would retain the only official copy of the minutes.
However, Shaughnessy stated in a memo to the board that not all board members have complied with the system and that since the inception of the policy, there hasn’t been a meeting in which every board member returned their copy of the executive session minutes.
“I never thought the policy was needed,” Brown said. “The information was so skeletal it was meaningless. It basically said what we went in and talked about. I said that we should let the clerk have a copy of the minutes passed around at the meeting and then have them approved.”
Kaplan said he believes in transparency and that he recommended that minutes could have been distributed in other ways by the clerk, such as a confidential e-mail.