On the other hand, he thinks the timing of council’s ward meetings – two months before the May 21 primary election during which five of nine council seats will be contested – shows that they are political.
“Isn’t it funny that they’re doing it now?” he said. “It is all of a sudden, now, as we get into the election season, that they decide to do all this. I think that they know that we’re out to get them off of council and they’re trying to step up their game.”
Resident Rachelle Reid, who is running for a First Ward council seat, had similar thoughts.
“If they were so concerned about the thoughts of the constituents, why didn’t they do that before this?” Reid said. “Why are they doing it? It’s an election year.”
Councilor Scott Sites, who frequently forms a one-member minority on council, has a different problem with the meetings: He said he only learned about the meetings from information on his utility bill, which says “council members for your ward” will be on-hand for the meetings.
“I did get a chuckle out of that,” Sites said. “How did they know I’d even be available?”
Sites thinks he was not informed because he cannot be controlled by council leadership.
“I’m not a part of the dog and pony show, so I’m figuring that’s why they didn’t include me – because they can’t script what I have to say,” he said.
Sites does plan to attend, but is skeptical that the meetings are a genuine attempt to interact with citizens.
“If the citizens get to ask open questions and get open answers, I think they’re great,” Sites said. “But I think they’re going to be scripted. What Council President McNamara wants to be said, I think is what will be said. And the question-and-answer will probably be limited.”
The First Ward meeting will be held at Rescue Fire Company on South Union Street on March 7, the Second Ward meeting will be held at the American Legion on East High Street on March 14, and the Third Ward meeting will be held at the Middletown Volunteer Fire Station on Adelia Street on March 21. All meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m.
The town hall meeting will be held at 7 p.m. the MCSO building on West Emaus Street on March 28.