January 20, 2014 - BWL investigator names community review team members to explore power outage response - MLIVE
January 20, 2014 - Much of BWL review may be private - McDaniel: Operating under open meetings, public records laws would be 'burdensome' - Lansing State Journal
January 22, 2014 - Outside BWL review team aims for transparency - “Legal advice from the city of Lansing clearly demonstrated that the (Open Meetings Act) does not apply to the (review team), but since we hold transparency as a core value, we are willing to go beyond what is legally required because we believe strongly in conducting our business in an open format whenever possible,” McDaniel said in a statement. Today’s announcement contrasts with statements McDaniel made to the Lansing State Journal earlier this week, in which he said the group’s being subject to open meetings and records laws would create “constraints” and would be “really burdensome.” - Lansing City Pulse
January 24, 2014 - Carol Wood: This is an the resolution I am offering up at the January 30, 2014 meeting of City Council and asking my fellow Councilmembers to support:
WHEREAS, within the week of December 16th the weather forecast for the Greater Lansing Area predicted an ice storm which could affect services in the area and on Saturday, December 21, 2013 our community was hit with this storm; and
WHEREAS, Peter Lark, General Manager of the Board of Water & Light (BWL) on Monday December 23, 2013 called the ice storm that left nearly 40,000 customers without power a “catastrophic event,” never before experienced by any single utility in the state; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Water & Light (BWL) is a public utility owned by the residents of Lansing and in accordance with the Lansing City Charter is responsible to the Mayor and the Lansing City Council to provide water, heat, steam and electric services in a manner consistent with best practices; and
WHEREAS, Mayor Bernero convened a Community Review Team (CRT) that Brigadier General (ret) Michael C. H. McDaniel will lead and conduct a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) during the previous devastating ice storm that caused widespread power outages across the Capital region; and
WHEREAS, the Lansing City Charter defines “Agency means any board, commission, department, division, office or other organization of City government and includes any elective officer, appointee or person acting or purporting to act in the exercise of official duties.”
WHEREAS, the Lansing City Charter also states the City of Lansing “has the comprehensive home rule power conferred upon it by the Michigan Constitution, subject only to the limitation on the exercise of that power contained in the Constitution or this Charter or imposed by statute”; and
WHEREAS, the City of Lansing government, Boards and Commissions conducts themselves under the State of Michigan Open Meetings Act and the responsible, ethical, and transparent investigation for the Lansing residents who own the Board of Water & Light (BWL) is to conduct any and all meetings of the Community Review Team (CRT) and/or sub-committee in accordance with the State of Michigan Open Meetings Act; and
WHEREAS, the customers of the Board of Water & Light (BWL) have repeatedly testified to their lack of confidence and trust of the utility and have demanded an open, transparent investigation as to the handling of the power outage.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Lansing City Council is requesting that Community Review Team (CRT) and/or sub-committee conduct any and all meetings in accordance with the State of Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Michigan's Open Meeting Act
"An updated copy of the Open Meetings Act, as amended, is available courtesy of Michigan State University Extension. An MSU Extension pamphlet, Michigan Open Meetings Act Decision Tree, is designed to help local officials and citizens answer the following two questions:
- Is a body, organization, or other meeting subject to the Michigan Open Meetings Act?
- If so, can part of that open meeting be closed to the public?"