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D.C. Council Bars Reporters From Meeting

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A copy of the D.C. city council agenda shows that "profanity" was on chairman Kwame Brown's mind for the meeting from which he barred reporters.
Tom Sherwood, NBC Washington
A copy of the D.C. city council agenda shows that "profanity" was on chairman Kwame Brown's mind for the meeting from which he barred reporters.

Police officers were called to escort reporters from a number of news organization, including WAMU, from a city council meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday. The council, in an unusual step, voted unanimously to close the meeting, with chairman Kwame Brown citing personnel matters were about to be discussed.

Under the city's open meetings law, the council can meet in private when personnel issues are being discussed. A copy of the agenda for the meeting shows that, while personnel matters such as financial disclosure forms were going to be discussed, members were also meeting to talk about the image of the institution and the decorum of the council after Tuesday’s meeting, which included public swearing, insults, and contentious exchanges.

Whether conversations about civility are covered in the exemption clause of D.C.’s open meetings law is debatable.

When two councilmembers emerged later, they said the entire meeting was focused on personnel issues. Of course, without press in the room, there's no way that can be verified.

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