The Washington Post

D.C. Council meets privately to discuss decorum

The meeting agenda (TIM CRAIG)

Two days after a contentious day of legislating that included public swearing and a heated dais battle, the D.C. Council is meeting this afternoon to discuss its decorum.

The meeting, however, is taking place behind closed doors, in a John A. Wilson Building conference room, after council members voted to exempt it from the city’s open meetings laws.

Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) said the meeting would be closed because “personnel matters” and “financial disclosures” would be discussed. That would appear to invoke an exception allowing closed-door meetings to “discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, performance evaluation, compensation, discipline, demotion, removal, or resignation of government appointees, employees, or officials.”

However, an agenda distributed ahead of the meeting indicated that the topics of discussion would be somewhat broader, to include “Breakfasts & Dais,” “Internal Code of Conduct” and the council “as an institution and its image.”

After the vote, Brown summoned police to clear the room of reporters, including The Post’s Tim Craig, WTOP’s Mark Segraves and WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood.

The vote to close the meeting was unanimous among the nine members in attendance: Brown, Phil Mendelson, Mary M. Cheh, Jack Evans, Jim Graham, David A. Catania, Yvette M. Alexander, Tommy Wells and Marion Barry.

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