State: Mayors sewer meeting violated Open Door Law
ELKHART, Ind. – Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore announced Monday the sewer task force would meet on Wednesday to discuss rules and goals. The meeting was closed to the public. State law experts say that meeting violated the Open Door Law.
Dave Schemenauer is one of the 63 business owners currently signed into the Elkhart sewer compact still waiting for a negotiated fee from the city of Elkhart.
"Every step of the way, every meeting, we talk with them and now that action is about to happen, they say we're going to handle this and the mayor steps in and says no, I'm going to choose how this will be handled,” said Schemenauer.
Moore assigned a 16 person task force that has a year to reach a compromise over sewer fees.
Wednesday was the task force’s first meeting.
Despite state law, the meeting was closed to the public.
"The committee has been appointed by the mayor therefore it becomes an extension of the mayor's authority and therefore it has to comply with the Open Door Law,” said Dale Brewer, paralegal for Indiana Public Access Counselor.
Mayor Moore disagrees with the public access counselor's opinion.
"We went to our own legal counsel and the position is that it is not a governing body. There is no quorum there of the wildest imagination there is no quorum of a governing body whatsoever,” said Moore.
Schemenauer says he will begin using new techniques to get his message across.
"Screaming, shouting, posting signs. Those are lousy ways to run a city, but the mayor isn't leaving any other option,” said Schemenauer.