Public says city council not transparent

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COLUMBIA - Members of a citizens group say they think the city council is not being transparent with how it chose the two city manager finalists. 

The treasurer of Transparency Matters LLC said the group is disappointed with the council for not informing the public of how it came to its decisions. 

"We had discussed what we had heard, what had we seen, what documentation had been sent out to interested residents of the city and community members that are involved in different boards and commissions. We realized no one had seen or heard anything," Maria Oropallo said. 

Transparency Matters LLC requested documentation of the demographics of all candidates who applied for the city manager position. 

The group is concerned the candidates don't have the diversity it was promised would be incorporated the process.

A city council member said she cannot talk about private information.

"People want to know about how many people of color we've had and how many women we've had apply. That's all confidential human resource's information that we are not allowed to give out," Council Member Betsy Peters said.

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said he thinks there is a line between being transparent and protecting privacy. 

Treece invited back the 75 candidates and all organizations to ask questions of the two finalists to help the city council make the best decision. 

The public reception is Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.

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