The saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” can be said for the City of San Jose’s closed session meetings. In a prior blog, I wrote about what I could of closed sessions called The Mystery of Closed Sessions.
Closed session attendees sign a paper with legal verbiage at each meeting signifying the importance of confidential information shared at the meeting. As mentioned in my prior blog, closed session tackles topics like labor, litigation, real estate and personnel matters.
As a side note, I was able to attend several of the public labor negotiation sessions involving the city attorney union. I found the process valuable. Valuable to hear both sides discuss their viewpoints live, and it served the attorneys well from my perspective. I hope other unions take their negotiations public in future years.
Quite often in closed session the Council will take votes on important items even though the public does not have the opportunity to hear what is said or voted on. The information shared and comments made in closed session is not supposed to leave the room. These can be on important matters, however again the vote cannot be revealed.
So, what I can say, there is sometimes vigorous debate and not all votes during closed session are unanimous. I understand the need for closed session but feel that I am restricted in saying what I said or how I voted. Videotaping closed session for me would be alright in case it was needed in the future. We do audio-record real estate discussions currently in closed session today so perhaps closed session will keep evolving. For me I would just as well have the closed session as a public session, however what I may want may interfere with the right of another.