The City Council unanimously agreed to approve a deal that would bring IBM to Columbia at a special meeting Monday night.
Residents and council members expressed dissatisfaction at the way negotiations with IBM were conducted, mainly with the secrecy surrounding the negotiations.
First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz expressed concern over a "culture of nondisclosure" and called the lack of transparency a little "disquieting."
Residents said the confidentiality of the negotiations made them question whether the agreement would really benefit the community. Attendees at the meeting expressed a desire to have more time for the public to debate IBM's coming to Columbia, something they said was lost due to the secrecy surrounding the negotiations with the company.
REDI President Mike Brooks argued that secrecy was essential in negotiating with IBM, as the company didn't want to alert competitors to its plan. The city also did not want to alert other cities vying for an IBM deal to the incentives it was offering the company.
Should REDI have disclosed more about the IBM negotiations earlier on in the process?