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An IR View: Government transparency, sawmill closing

An IR View: Government transparency, sawmill closing

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Thumbs up

Kudos to the city of Helena for being upfront and honest about today’s special city commission meeting to discuss the city manager. 

According to an agenda that has been posted publicly and distributed to the media, the 4 p.m. meeting in the City Commission Chambers will be held “for the purposes of consideration of a complaint against Ana Cortez; and placing Ms. Cortez on administrative leave.”

When Cortez was placed on paid administrative leave in June amid an investigation of two harassment complaints against her, the city failed to acknowledge it until nearly two months later. And that was only in response to a public records request filed by the Independent Record.

Although city officials are still being more tight-lipped than we’d like, at least they are now providing the level of detail required before holding a meeting behind closed doors.

The people of Helena deserve to know what’s happening in the highest level of city government, and this is a step in the right direction.

Thumbs down

The regional economy suffered another major blow with this week’s announcement that R Y Timber will indefinitely suspend operations at its Townsend sawmill.

One of the larger employers in the area, R Y Timber announced that 70 employees are expected to be laid off as a result of the closure. Many of them will probably end up leaving the small community of Townsend to find work, which will hurt the local businesses that rely on that customer base.

Although some damage has already been done, we are hopeful that R Y Timber will one day be able to overcome this setback and reopen the Townsend mill.

This is the opinion of the Independent Record editorial board. 



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As open-government advocates throughout the nation were preparing for this week’s celebration of access to public information, some members of Helena’s governing body were robbing the public and their peers of their constitutional right to observe and participate in a decision-making process that will reverberate for years to come.

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