The county can't seem
to get in step
with the Open Meeting Law (OML)
The gist of the OML is
simple: public meetings should be public.
Strict compliance with
the OML is required, and any ambiguity is to be interpreted in favor of
If the OML is violated
meeting, all votes at the meeting are null and void (although our state
attorney general has rewritten this law, in a bad opinion).
written statutes are more detailed, of course. Here's a
The County has a
violating the OML; it's much more comfortable for an "old boys net" to
run the county out of public view.
violations are technical, because the County has a hard time keeping up
with state law.
For instance, the
Notice and Current Agenda" page listed this item for October 9,
2009: "12:00 PM Lunch and discussion with Col Tim Faulkner,
Garrison Commander, Fort Huachuca in the BOS Executive Conference
Room." At least two Supes said they would attend to discuss
important matters for the County. Two is a quorum, and the
requires that when there's a public meeting of a quorum, notice "shall
include an agenda of the matters to be discussed ... or information on
how the public may obtain a copy of such an agenda ... at least
twenty-four hours before the meeting," and "Agendas ... shall list the
specific matters to be discussed, considered or decided at the
meeting." That requirement was brought to the attention of
County before the meeting, but there was no response.
example: the OML was
amended, in July 2009, to require at least 24 hours notice of a meeting
(and this notice is to include the agenda), but the 24 hours "excludes
holidays prescribed in [ARS 1-]301." Columbus Day is such a
holiday, so the 24 hours couldn't include any part of Monday.
Regardless, the County posted notice on Monday, October 12, of a
meeting on Tuesday. An inquiry was emailed to the County, but
there was no answer, and the meeting proceeded as if there were no
problem with the OML.
For more examples, see