New measure bans Council from violating confidentiality
The City Council passed a resolution yesterday that bans its members -- but does not penalize them -- from speaking publicly about any information discussed during closed-door meetings.
This comes as a result of Councilman Charles Djou disclosing information to news media earlier this year about a lawsuit settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency after an executive session meeting, angering other councilmembers.
"I think confidentiality is essential to these hearings," said Councilman Gary Okino. "If you want to disclose things, it's fine, but it should be the decision of the whole Council, not the opinion of one member."
Confidentiality from these closed-door meetings can be waived, according to the resolution, if at least two-thirds of the Council votes to do so. An earlier draft of the resolution banned members from future closed-door meetings if they violated the rule. The penalty has since been removed.
Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz was the only member to object to the measure yesterday, saying it was unnecessary.
Djou, who was not present at yesterday's meeting, has maintained he disclosed information about the lawsuit because it involved $300 million of taxpayer dollars and that the public had a right to know.