Investigation underway after council meeting is canceled

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 11:33 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Local groups held a press conference Monday afternoon calling for an investigation into the cancellation of last week’s South Bend Common Council meeting.

During that meeting, they were supposed to discuss a reparatory resolution.

The groups filed a complaint with Public Access Counselor Luke Britt out of Indianapolis.

“I spoke with the Public Access Counselor Luke Britt earlier today. I explained to him the situation. I talked to him about the ways in which the notice was sent out. He shared with me that he felt it wasn’t in violation of the law. That what the clerk’s office did was according to the law,” said Jorden Giger, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter South Bend.

South Bend Common Council President Sharon McBride said she cancelled that meeting because a notice was not posted in the proper location.

City Clerk Dawn Jones, however, claimed she posted a notice twice and followed Indiana Code.

“And we have confidence that the clerk’s office did post the notice in the clerk’s office. They typically have a station where all council meeting notices are placed,” said Giger.

“Some of the things that they are asking the clerk to do is not law. It’s practice. Practice is based on relationship. There’s no relationship between her office and the council office,” said South Bend Common Council Member Henry Davis Jr.

Some are wondering if the meeting was cancelled in order to delay discussion on the reparatory resolution, though McBride said that is not the case.

“I am ashamed. I am embarrassed, and I pray that we do better after this is over with; but Clerk Jones is doing the best that she can with what she has,” said Davis.

“My responsibility as the city clerk is to make sure that the public has information, that the process is transparent,” said South Bend City Clerk Dawn Jones.

City officials and community members are also calling for more training for both council members and the city clerk.

Britt said he is dealing with the issue and plans to come to South Bend in February to do some training and set expectations.

Meantime, the council is expected to talk about the resolution at a meeting on Feb. 13.