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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Petersburg City Council quibbles over transparency



ST. PETERSBURG -- Toward the end of an otherwise docile  City Council meeting Thursday, council members Wengay Newton and Leslie Curran traded barbs about transparency.

Newton had pulled items about the city's annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade and the Festival of States off the consent agenda because he had unanswered questions. During that discussion, someone interrupted him while he was talking. Later, he brought that up, calling it rude. And, he said he felt criticized by his colleagues for pulling the consent items in the first place.

"I take serious offense when people make comments on open mic about me doing my job," he said, adding that he'd spent most of the week trying to get answers to his questions from city staff. "I never got my answers. I got cut off from getting my answers. There are things I don't know about. ... We all preach about transparency."

Curran begged to differ. In almost 13 years on council, she has never had problems getting answers from staff, she said. And she didn't like the suggestion that the group had anything to hide.

"I think this is a very transparent council and just think that it is really unfair to say that things are being hidden and not shared because that is not the case."

Stephanie Hayes, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:19pm]


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