In an unapologetic do-over, the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust again agreed to a joint resolution with the City Council to offer a relief program in three parts to “small businesses” in Oklahoma City affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the meantime, the Municipal Counselor’s office holds itself free from blame and accusation.
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Today’s meeting of the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust was held at the request of Mayor David Holt according to a larger statement Deputy Municipal Counselor Wiley Williams read at the top of the meeting.
It was in response to a report by Free Press, resulting posts on Twitter, and our opinion piece about the previous meeting on Tuesday, March 31 and its failure to comply with the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.
That meeting was listed on the City’s Meeting Calendar as “Cancelled” and no notice of a special meeting was listed as were two other meetings the same day.
Today’s do-over started with comments from Williams. He said that the official calendar of public meetings was never meant to be an official source of information about public meetings.
Frankly, reader, I call bullshit.
I have spent the last year reporting on city government meetings and I have made my weekly agenda using the City’s calendar. Now that calendar is gone. That only demonstrates that the City doesn’t trust itself to keep its own shop clean.
Williams went on to say, “We humbly apologize,” after a lengthy explanation of why it wasn’t the fault of the city and how they did nothing wrong.
Business Not As Usual
Look. Nothing happened in this meeting that was different from the previous meeting of this body. But that is definitely not the issue here.
The City has fumbled its main mechanism of informing the public of their meetings. When called out for it, they said it was our fault for not looking in the right place for information. When we said that was wrong, they literally deleted their faulty calendar and said it was not a reliable source.
City office staff have always – in this reporter’s opinion – been above board and reliable. So why are they thrown under the bus by the Municipal Counselor’s Office?
This is not an effort for transparency. It is obfuscation to follow what was likely a simple mistake. I, for one, am unimpressed.
The reconvened Trust went forward to approve the slate they approved previously.
The Trust agreed to sign on to the agreement they wrote for a $5.5million relief package for small businesses affected by the pandemic
A Memorandum of Agreement was requested for the Marcus Garvey Apartments project with One Red Oak, LLC.
Another Memorandum of Agreement was requested for the Myriad Gardens Crystal Bridge in the amount of $5.5 million.
This meeting wasn’t about what the Trust would approve, it was to prove that the Trust wouldn’t approve without public attention.
We stand as vigilant as we are able. Keep your eye out, Oklahoma City.
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