Most of us have seen this grandstanding bit of business from Tom Gordon publicly calling for an apology from NCCo County Councilmember Lisa Diller for insisting on requests for information from the County Executive’s Office be provided when requested. Ms. Diller’s response here has been characterized as yelling — which it might be, it certainly sounds as though she’s extremely frustrated with the lack of communication and the selective release of information to Councilmembers. If you listen to the audio of that meeting, (start around the 10 minute mark) you hear one Councilman talk about the Administration spending money on events and photo ops the County doesn’t seem to have and not getting timely data on these budget expenditures. The rest of this discussion is specifically about the refusal of Gordon and the County Attorney to provide a briefing in Executive Committee during that Finance Committee on the Pike Creek appeal.
County Attorney Pepukayi tells this group that he has provided them documents when he has them. And he attempts to separate out the County Council as a client of the County and therefore not entitled to certain information on cases. This is a ludicrous position — when the government is sued, the County Council is not specifically excluded from these suits. This is basic governing 101, I think. They don’t necessarily need to be consulted on strategy (excepting money settlements, but all of that can be argued), but it is not the business of Tom Gordon or the County Attorney to decide what information the Council needs or does not need. Nor do they get to pick and chose which Council Members they communicate with. County Attorney Pepukayi’s response was just petty and ill-informed — and if you listen to the rest of the conversation, Council Attorney Carol Dulin, Councilmember Kilpatrick and others also remind Pepukayi that it is part of his job to be responsive to information requests. Those requests can be done in Executive Session, to try to shield sensitive information.
But it is clear to me that Councilmember Diller was responding to a clear case of Pepukayi trying to gin up a ration of bullshit (that somehow the County Council has no entitlement to legal details because they are not party to the suit) to deny the requested briefing to a room full of people who know what they’re responsibilities are and what their communication needs are. That ration of bullshit (and really it can be counted as mansplaining) was meant to “manage” these people into standing down from their requests — as though these people were not going to notice that their plain English request was being ignored. Frankly I get why any of them would be angry. Again, if you listen, it is the women in the room that set the County Attorney straight. And this grandstanding bit of business from Gordon is probably a reaction to his Attorney being thoroughly schooled by this group of women. It is Tom Gordon who should apologize to these people for condescendingly trying to play them as fools.
So here’s my request, Councilmember Diller — tell Tom Gordon to send his apology request to someone who might be interested in it. Because in this instance, he wasn’t delivering on his obligations to County Council, and his time would be better spent doing that rather than purveying this manufactured indignation.