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After the Jan. 12 public meeting on the budget, Council members retired to executive session, for the purpose – according to the motion that carried – of discussing “personnel and collective bargaining.”

On the days leading up to the Jan. 12 meeting, strong rumors had it that several programs and positions were on the chopping block, and morale at the Civic Center was very low.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, objected to the closed meeting, saying budgetary cuts involving personnel must be discussed in open meetings. She accused City Manager Julia Carroll of “adding names to the program so this would not be discussed in public.” She asked that the names be stricken from the agenda and that the Council discuss the proposed cuts in public, and then she read off the proposed cuts: $60,000 from the department of health and human services; $80,000 from the library; and $100,000 additional. Sources have told the RoundTable that City staff have proposed closing both branch libraries.

“Positions involve people,” Ms. Carroll responded. “I wanted to discuss this in closed session because the people have not yet been notified.”

The motion to adjourn into closed session was approved 6-3, with Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward, and Ald. Rainey voting “no.”