Friday, February 23, 2007

Bill to address serial meetings loophole

Bill to address serial meetings loophole
Scheduled for Senate vote next week

SB 103, authored by Sen. Beverly Gard, R-Greenfield, must be passed by the Senate by Wednesday Feb 28th. Please contact your state senator(s) and urge them to support this bill. (contact info below) This needs to be done as soon as possible because Wednesday, Feb. 28 is the deadline for Senate approval.

This bill would accomplish two goals:

Prohibit governing bodies of public agencies from conducting business through the use of series of meetings (while never allowing a quorum to be present) that closes the door to the discussion of the issues in the face of the public. Those who have used this tactic argue they did not violate the Open Door Law because there never was a quorum present to trigger the law. But the tactic, solely intended to skirt the law, clearly tramples the intent of the law - “It is the intent of this chapter (Open Door Law) that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly . . . in order that the people may be fully informed.

Prohibit members of governing bodies of public agencies from voting in public meetings by telephone or Internet connections unless the General Assembly has given specific permission. There is accountability when a commissioner, council member, board member, etc. must cast a vote on a controversial matter in person before interested citizens.

This bill does not prohibit individual conversations between two county commissioners or town board members. It does not prohibit a mayor from having discussions with individual council members. Chance or social gatherings would not trigger a violation. Carpooling to events would not be a problem, Caucus meetings would not be a problem.

What you should do:
Have a conversation with your senator(s) or at least get a message to he/she/them. If you don’t see them over the weekend, the Senate switchboard number is (317) 232-9400 or (800) 382-9467. Try to determine whether they favor the concept or identify concerns they have. Ask that they vote for approval of S.B. 103.

Local Officials Contact info:
Sen. Johnny Nugent 537-0628 or 800-382-9467
Rep Bob Bischoff 537-2061 or 800-382-9842
Rep Tom Knollman 800-382-9841

Remember commissioners and council had serial meetings with Vieste recently rather than open public discussions. This could put a stop to that practice.


Anonymous said...

It is the intent of this chapter (Open Door Law) that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly . . . in order that the people may be fully informed.

It has been proven by mathematical and scientific equation and calculation that the PEOPLE get in the way of the PEOPLE’s business, wellbeing, welfare and interests.

Or so says the DCEDI handbook concerning the PEOPLE:


Anonymous said...

What needs to be done here is to disenfranchise certain public office holders, who feel the need to attend such meetings, from their respective offices.

Raise your hand if you are:

1. A public office holder;

2. You attend such meetings; and

3. You wish to keep your job.

See ya next primary season!

Anonymous said...

Serial meetings loopholes are just another way of saying:


I would wager that Rick Fox does not shout anyone down at these meetings.

Chances are, he must wear Depends to keep from wetting himself like the beta hound that he is when addressing these alpha DCEDI pack cohorts.