Monday, October 29, 2007

Eviscerating the Open Meetings Act

Looks like I'll be on the phone today. Read more here. Mike Hammond was on TV Sunday explaining that the Commission was looking at the quorum rule as a solution to their woes.

The last thing we need is 9 commissioners getting together in secret to trade votes, and then holding another meeting with ANOTHER 9 commissioners in secret to get the majority.

I like Mike's support of civil penalties. Perhaps we need to enact that reform, along with a clear definition of "deliberation." Allow multiple Commissioners to meet with constituents to gather information, but not to discuss between them. That seems pretty simple.

Mike had a good point about the fact that we have two commissioners from each district, and they may need to brief each other on a meeting or conversation with a constituent that one of them had. But can't they do that with a written public memo? That would fall under "information gathering" and not deliberation- a memo or e-mail being a "one way" conversation. As long as the other Commissioner didn't respond to that email/memo, the intent of the OMA would be met.

Thoughts? Comments?


Steve said...

Betty Bean (link expires = said about the proposed "reforms":

"It leaves former City Council member Carlene Malone, who has carried a copy of the Open Meetings and Open Records laws in her purse for 20 years, nauseous.

She snorts in the general direction of the $1,000 fine.

'This is not reform. It’s a joke. Might as well be $2 million. Why bother to have a sunshine law if two or more people – let alone almost half the body – can sit down in private and talk things over. Just abolish the damn law. Just say public business can be conducted in private and be done with it. All our public bodies from the federal level on down have had scandal after scandal, from accepting kickbacks to God knows what, and they want to call this reform?' "

I couldn't agree more.

Zimri said...

Interesting to know.

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