Editor's note:This has been modified to correct the name of the parade discussed. The Living Legends of Auto Racing Parade is a different event, sponsored by a nonprofit.

Government by ambush is never a good thing, especially when it involves big decisions.

Unfortunately, the Volusia County Council doesn’t seem to endorse that sentiment. When it convenes Tuesday to review the performance of County Manager George Recktenwald and County Attorney Dan Eckert, anything could happen — because council members have refused to offer written evaluations, and have remained tightlipped about what they might have to say.

[READ MORE: Uncertainty shrouds reviews of Volusia attorney, manager]

So rumors are swirling, with no public facts to confirm or debunk them. Members of the public who might weigh in don’t have anything to support — or rebut. And the manager and attorney could be facing criticisms they didn’t have an opportunity to prepare responses to.

That leaves people guessing at what might happen. From all signs, it appears that the council is pleased overall with Recktenwald’s performance after his first year on the job. However, Eckert drew complaints from council members following controversy over the Historic North Turn Legends Beach parade. The dissension flared after Eckert expressed concerns that it violated the county’s Habitat Conservation Plan (which protects endangered shore birds and sea turtles while preserving beach driving).

Councilwoman Billie Wheeler was sharpest in her criticism, saying that Eckert should have pointed out potential problems years ago. Friday, she told The News-Journal’s Casmira Harrison “I want to move things in a different direction.”

Wheeler wouldn’t be the first council member to hear things she didn’t like from Eckert — and in the case of the parade, her complaint does hold some validity; the beach parade (which is scheduled for February) has taken place for eight years. The parade didn’t always involve portions of the beach that are supposed to be off-limits to vehicles, and the council never asked for a formal legal opinion — but Eckert could have volunteered one, and should have gone to council with his intention to send a letter informing the parade’s organizer that he was recommending against it in 2020.

But if Wheeler plans to put Eckert’s employment status on the table, does she have other criticisms to air? Or is that the only one?

We have to give Wheeler credit, though. She’s the only council member who was willing to go into specific criticisms prior to the meeting. The rest refused — with Chairman Ed Kelley telling Harrison he didn’t want the public to know what he was thinking prior to the formal meeting. As a result, Volusia County residents don't know how much consideration council members have given to the fact that, in his 41-year tenure with county government (39 of those years spent heading up the county’s legal division) Eckert has amassed a solid reputation for expertise and integrity. We also don't know whether council members acknowledge that Eckert is currently maneuvering the county through complex litigation involving a voter-approved constitutional amendment that could force significant reorganization of county government.

WIth a decision this big, the public should know where their council members stand, while they still have time to dispute — or agree with — their representatives’ viewpoints. It's mystfiying that council members don't want to give them that opportunity.

but council members couldn’t honestly say that their attorney t had done anything wrong there, just that he maybe should have raised his concerns eight years ago