Violations of open meetings

Published 8:24 pm Monday, March 15, 2010

Several weeks ago Selma Mayor George Evans informed members of the city council they could meet with him in his office in numbers not to make up a quorum and violate the state’s open meetings law.

These meetings with council members would allow them to ask questions and receive information and make public meetings shorter because the council no longer holds work sessions.

In effect, these are serial meetings and a way to circumvent the open meetings law. Some have filed lawsuits over alleged violations, but a judge has ruled the meetings were staggered and there was never a quorum present in the case of the Montgomery County Board of Education. That decision is on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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Voters elect officials.

The public’s business should be conducted with open doors and a quorum present. Serial meetings do not allow the public to participate.

The upshot is not always the decisions that are made by a governmental body, but how that body arrived at the decisions. Those questions about how may be answered only with open deliberations.

The public deserves to know the how and why as well as the what of these decisions.