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Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Council Meeting

Last week was my first council meeting on my own. Usually, they start at 10am, but this week was supposed to start at 9am. I called on Monday to see if the 9am part was "In Camera" (when myself and the public have to leave) and I was told no and to be there for 9am. I didnt want to be there any earlier than I had to be, because I knew I wouldnt get much sleep. Monday was my deadline day and I was in the office all day, and then I was at the rodeo covering it for the paper all night until about 11, so by the time I got home, I was exhausted.

I woke up early and left the house by 830am to be in Fort Vermilion for 9am. I got there at 10 to 9, walked in and was just getting out my notebook when one man, a councillor I hadnt met before, said "youre going to have to close your ears for this part until we start the council meeting, because you can't hear this". They were just talking on the other side of the room, I hadn't even noticed them. We were in opposite corners from each other. He obviously just wanted to make himself known, and I had been warned of this.

The meeting started around 9:10am and then "Person 1" calls In Camera as soon as it begins. So out I go until nearly 11pm.

I finally get back in for about an hour and we break for lunch. After lunch, we went for about a half an hour until "Person 1" called another In Camera session. I was out in the hall again until 2:30, when they breaked.

At this time, half of them went outside and half of them stayed in for coffee so I went back in to set up. When "Person 1" came back in, he said to me "You didn't take a picture of the sod turning for the newspaper?" and looked very unimpressed with me. I told "Person 1" I had no idea it was even going on, because I had been in the hall due to In Camera. I also said he and the rest of the councillors walked by me without mentioning the sod turning. "Person 1" then proceeding to tell me not to listen to anything on the coffee break, because technically we were still In Camera. "Person 1" was hinting that s/he wanted me back out, but I wasn't about to stand on the other side of the door just for that person to give me permission to come back in. The doors were open, so it was open to the public.

As soon as it began again, "Person 1" motions to come out of In Camera and looks at me. I just smile. Kill them with kindness, it my moto.

The third time we went In Camera the rest of the public were allowed to stay. The other reporters have said they have been allowed to stay In Camera as long as they dont take notes, so I put my notes away. "Person 1" looks at me and reminds me that they were In Camera, walks to the door, and motions for me to leave. I told "Person 1" I had put my books away and wouldnt take notes. "No, you're far too dangerous," s/he says. So out I go again. I know for a fact that kicking me out and allowing everyone else to stay is wrong, but I just smiled to "Person 1" on my way out and said, Ok then!

I was there until after 4pm but probably only in the council meeting for about 3 or 4 hours. It was ridiculous. In Camera was called for just about everything by "Person 1". Oh well, I'm not running off. See you next week, "Person 1"!

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