Sunday, November 16, 2008

Read the Fine Print

For those of you who took note of the Nov. 24 PMUA rate hearing and regular meeting, please cross them off your calendar.

A new set of legal notices Saturday announced that both the 6 p.m. rate hearing and the 7 p.m. regular meeting have now been canceled. No new dates were mentioned.

So Plaintalker will have to continue scouring those legal notices to find out what's next.

The regular meeting had already been changed from Nov. 13 to Nov. 24. Boards, commissions and authorities normally publish annual calendars when they reorganize. The City Council reorganizes in January, the school board in April and the PMUA in February. So interested citizens have to pay attention. Besides being published, many such calendars are posted in the City Clerk's office and other public places. Changes can be made, providing notice is published.

Here's another interesting legal notice from Saturday: The Board of Education will be discussing Board Secretary/Business Administrator Gary Ottmann's contract renewal at the Dec. 16 school board meeting. Ottmann, who formerly served 13 years in Plainfield in the same role, was hired back last December. So there is some future news to monitor, whether Ottmann will stay on, for how many years and at what salary.

Big changes are in the works at most newspapers, including the Courier News, and Plaintalker wonders how things will shake out in terms of legal notices. Online sources don't seem to have the local legal notices, which Plaintalker finds so useful as heralds of possible news. Under the Open Public Meetings law, all a governmental entity has to do to alert the public to an important hearing is publish notice. If you don't see it, too bad. The letter of the law has been fulfilled and the entity is free to take action after the hearing.

So if you want to find out about PMUA rates and speak on any proposed changes, or find out when other decisions are upcoming, keep watching those pages of fine print. Plaintalker will also be watching.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, it's always wise to read the fine print.

There is no statutory requirement to publish and print most meeting notices (even the annual notices.) Although city agencies may publish information now, it doesn't mean they will always do so.

3:11 PM  

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