Several speakers at Monday’s City Council meeting said they felt blind-sided by the Friday afternoon release of the meeting packet with information on the proposed censure of City Clerk Devon Reid.

Reid supporters said the timing didn’t give them enough time to organize their support for the clerk.

Alderman Tom Suffredin picked up on that theme in the Call of the Wards at the end of the meeting, making a referral to the Council’s Rules Committee for a discussion aimed at getting packets released further in advance “than the bare minimum required by the state Open Meetings Act.”

The act requires that meeting notices and agendas be posted at least 48 hours before a meeting.

With a 6 p.m. Monday night meeting, that means a Friday afternoon release of the agenda provides over 72 hours notice — more than the state law requires.

In recent months agendas for some City Council meetings have been released by Thursday afternoon, but others don’t come out until late in the business day on Friday.

Local news organizations have urged for some time that the City Council packets be released even sooner — perhaps on Wednesday — but so far the City Council hasn’t seen fit to adopt such a rule.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has said that setting an earlier release deadline for the agenda information would make it more difficult to staff to get preparatory work done on issues coming before the Council in a timely fashion.

The next Rules Committee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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