AUBURN — City Councilor Mike Farrell doesn't mind sitting in meetings for hours on end — just don't waste his time.
That's what happened Monday night at a joint workshop meeting of the Lewiston and Auburn city councils, Farrell said.
The meeting was billed as an information-gathering session for Twin Cities elected officials to update them on nine topics: emergency dispatch, shared software, economic development, L/A Arts, the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, the Emergency Management Agency, L-A Transit, energy auditing of municipal buildings and solid waste contract negotiations.
"We've heard everything everybody had to say before," Farrell said Tuesday. "There was not a thing discussed that could not have been handled better in a printed document."
So Farrell left midway through the meeting, writing a quick note to Mayor Dick Gleason on a scrap of paper — "Goodbye. This is an infomercial, not a meeting."
When he got home, he turned on the television and watched Great Falls TV's broadcast of the meeting.
"Could I have stuck around?" Farrell said. "Maybe, but what could I have done that I could not have done just the same from my couch?"
Four Lewiston councilors and five Auburn councilors attended the entire meeting. Lewiston councilors Tina O'Connell and Mark Cayer were excused from the meeting by Mayor Larry Gilbert and Larry Poulin arrived about 40 minutes after it started.
Councilor Dan Herrick didn't attend Monday's meeting from the beginning for the same reason Farrell decided to leave.
"I decided on Saturday that I had no need to be there," Herrick said. "All it was going to be was some people prancing and dancing and giving us information we already had."
Auburn Mayor Dick Gleason said he would have preferred that Farrell did not leave Monday's meeting, but Gleason said he understood.
"The key about this meeting is that it was a workshop and no decisions had to be made," Gleason said. "It does not matter to me how a councilor gets the information, as long as he gets it."