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Meetings must be accessible to all

Upon hearing of the Argyle Town Council’s special called meeting Monday evening, we were surprised and dismayed to learn of plans to hold it in a residence — especially a residence outside of the town’s boundaries.

The town of Argyle’s website revealed to residents — and apparently some council members as well — that a special called meeting would be held at 5 p.m. Monday at 1005 Roadrunner Road in Bartonville, the residence of a Kathie Rachwal, tax records show.

While Argyle’s Code of Ordinances does not limit where special called meetings are held, we’ve normally seen such meetings called for council retreats at hotels or other similar meeting facilities.

Though some communities are small enough to not have town halls in which to meet, Argyle is certainly not one of them. Its Town Hall at 308 Denton St. seems quite suitable for both regular and special called meetings, regardless of the topic.

In our opinion, the purpose of any called meeting — special, regular or otherwise — is to find facilities that can accommodate interested residents who want to keep up with the activities of its governmental representatives.

Holding a meeting in a residence does not meet this purpose. And, quite frankly, meandering down unfamiliar residential roads in a nearby community leaves the public less likely to attend — a result opposite to the intent of serving the public.

According to the posted meeting, discussion will center on the town manager duties as well as the “appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment duties, discipline or dismissal” of the town secretary and finance director.

Issues of this significance represent the very essence of a governmental organization and are of paramount importance to the public.

We would strongly suggest the Argyle Town Council reconsider the location of this upcoming meeting to make it more accessible to its voting public — especially considering the issues for which it was called in the first place.

The public has a right to know the council’s plans for its administrators. Deciding these matters in a nonresident’s living room outside of the affected town appears underhanded.

Personnel matters, which every town and city has dealt with at one point or another, should be reviewed within the community boundaries and in the town hall paid for by the very voters to which the council reports.