SUMMERVILLE -- A little burst of sunshine broke up a Town Council plan to talk health insurance behind closed doors.
The council's full-member Finance Committee was ready to go into executive session, essentially a session out of public view, on Monday to hear a consultant's advice on whether to stay with a local government insurance pool plan for its 300 employees. Council has tended to go into a closed session as a norm for any discussion that might lead to a contract, despite repeated public objections.
But this time Councilman Walter Bailey abruptly objected, saying that under Freedom of Information laws, while proposed contracts could be discussed in closed session, a tax-paid report by a consultant shouldn't be.
Council turned to town attorney Mark Stokes, who looked over the consultant's proposal and conceded Bailey, a former solicitor, had a point. The presentation was made in open session. Council has deliberated for months whether to re-bid its current plan in a cost saving move; the consultant said staying with the plan likely would save more money over the next few years than having to shop year to year on the open market.