I feel lied to by the City of Green. I'm Matt Shaughnessy and I am a Green City Council member and on Tuesday, March 20, Green City Council President Chris Humphrey stated in a local news story that Nexus offered their settlement to beat a tree cutting deadline of March 31 because of a rare migratory bat. The problem is that neither the council president nor the mayor or law director shared that information with the rest of council before council voted 4-3 to accept the NEXUS settlement offer.
Had council known the true strength of its bargaining position (that NEXUS was desperate to beat a tree cutting deadline), a no vote could have forced Nexus to consider alternative routes or come back to the table and negotiate a better deal, like routing around our city parks; higher compensation; additional shutoff valves; or the addition of mercaptan, a nontoxic chemical that makes it easier to detect a gas leak before it can create a hazardous situation. Instead, this information was never provided to council before it voted.
Now that the true motivation for the NEXUS settlement offer is known, it appears that every subsequent action taken by the city was to enable NEXUS to chop down trees before the March 31 deadline. First, the city signed the settlement agreement within hours of the vote and then violated its charter's 30 day rule for legislation to go into effect by dropping its lawsuits against Nexus immediately. Next, citizens tried to serve the city with notice that they were starting a referendum, to bring the decision to the voters; the city refused to accept the notice so the citizens had to send it Fed-Ex which caused them a delay. Now, the city is delaying the delivery of the referendum petitions to the Board of Elections until after the tree cutting deadline affording NEXUS additional tree cutting time.
My outrage here has more to do with how our city government is serving its constituents, not whether or not NEXUS will ultimately have a pipe cutting through our city. As council members, we had a right to know all the facts; this lack of openness leaves me frustrated, disappointed, and angry. Now that we know why NEXUS was so desperate to settle, the question remains, why were we so desperate to accept?
Green City Council, Ward 4