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  Monday December 22nd, 2014    

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MacLean vs Open Meeting Law (04/04/2007)
By Frances Edstrom
One would hope that the Winona County Board members do a little research of their own on the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, as the way it was characterized to them by none other than their very own County Attorney is erroneous and misleading at best.

Chuck MacLean told board members, who are considering instituting an "open mike" time at their meetings for citizens to approach the board, that such an arrangement could be considered in violation of the state's open meeting law. He opined that the board would be required to post beforehand what members of the public might say during such a period.

This is just silliness. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the three stated purposes of the Open Meeting Law is "To afford the public an opportunity to present its views to the public body."

The Open Meeting Law requires that meetings of the board be open to the public, while allowing the board to close meetings for very specifically stated purposes. They must give public notice that a meeting will be held, and make copies of any documents prepared by the public body available to the public. There is nothing in the law that requires the public body to publish in advance topics of conversation of a regular meeting, at which open mike would occur, although there is such a rule for special meetings.

Perhaps the board should set aside funds for its own law library.

F.E. 

 

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