Ashland ponders gag order for City Council members

ASHLAND — The City Council is considering a proposal that would prohibit individual council members from commenting to the media on what is discussed in closed-door executive sessions.

The Ashland Daily Tidings will challenge the change in court if it is approved, according to Editor Andrew Scot Bolsinger.

Aimed at preventing the city's business and legal strategies from being leaked to the public, the provision is part of the City Council's proposed rules that members have been working on for about a year.

Councilwoman Kate Jackson said council members should not discuss most of what is talked about in closed executive sessions, which are reserved under law for discussing litigation, personnel issues and pending real estate transactions.

"When the council is ready to take action on something that we discussed in executive session, we take action in the (open public) meeting after the session," Jackson said, noting that leaks can compromise the city's competitive edge in such things as negotiating land deals.

She suggested in an interview that the council could, as a compromise, draft a list of items that council members may, at their discretion, discuss with the press, similar to the policy of the Klamath Falls City Council.

Share This Story