Finance committee gives negative recommendation to agenda changes


City Councilor Sue Finkam has proposed amending the city’s rules to mandate that Carmel City Council agendas would have to be released earlier to the public.

She argues that posting an agenda on Thursday morning before a Monday doesn’t give the general public enough to change their schedules if they want to speak on an issue.

But others on the City Council disagree, saying there’s already plenty of time.

The council’s finance committee voted unanimously on earlier this month to send the bill back to the full council with a negative recommendation. Councilors Luci Snyder, Carol Schleif and Eric Seidensticker shared the same sentiments but Finkam was absent from the meeting.

The Clerk-Treasurer’s Office told the committee that it would be difficult to release the agenda earlier and would create extra work for the office. In addition, public hearings – which deal with issues such as new construction that concerned citizens often give researched remarks on – are already posted 10 days before City Council meetings even if the agenda hasn’t been released.

“I’ve never had an issue where I didn’t have enough time,” Seidensticker said. “If we have an open council, then we all should be talking about this stuff before it makes it to the agenda.”

Seidensticker said new agenda items are rarely voted on immediately and so the general public still has time to give their input to councilors. He pointed out that nearly every nearby community has a similar timetable for releasing agendas to the public.

Finkam, a sponsor of the proposed change, said she disagrees with her colleagues and she hopes they would see the benefit of extra time for the public.

“The point of this ordinance is to provide more transparency for the public,” she said. “It’s an easy fix.”

Mo Merhoff, president of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, previously sent out a release in support of the proposed change. She said more time would be beneficial for busy business leaders.