A running tally of Idaho open meeting law violation accusations
There have been quite a few accusations of government entities big and small violating Idaho’s open meeting laws recently. That’s not a trend journalists like to see.
So I’m keeping a running tally of such accusations throughout the state, starting retroactively in September. I’ll update with new stories when I see a link. Is there something I missed? Let me know: email@example.com.
(Full disclosure: I serve on the Idaho Press Club’s First Amendment Committee, which advocates for open government.)
If you need to brush up on Idaho’s open government laws, here’s a handy PDF, courtesy of Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office.
March 22: Bonner County Commissioners vote to rescind a letter opposing the Clagstone Meadows conservation easement after one commissioner tells the Idaho Statesman that the decision to oppose the easement came from a discussion that allegedly violated open meeting laws (via the Spokesman-Review and Idaho Statesman): http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2016/mar/22/bonner-commissioners-vote-3-0-rescind-anti-clagstone-letter-over-open-meeting-law-concerns/
March 17: Caldwell School District admits to an open meeting violation in its hiring of new superintendent after complaint from Idaho Education News (via Idaho Ed News): http://www.idahoednews.org/kevins-blog/responding-ed-news-complaint-caldwell-admits-open-meeting-violation/
Dec. 9: Blaine County School District racks up two alleged open meeting violations while renewing Superintendent GwenCarol Holmes’ contract (via Times-News): http://magicvalley.com/news/local/blaine-school-board-to-fix-open-meeting-law-violations/article_c6f9676d-d3a4-5462-9f19-720380379935.html) (Update, Dec. 14: Blaine County School District invalidates contract extension; has yet to reconsider contract extension, via Idaho Education News/Idaho Mountain Express: http://www.idahoednews.org/the-edge-blog/another-contract-extension-another-open-meetings-dispute/#.Vm8b9UqDFBd)
Nov. 9: In the ongoing West Ada saga, open meeting violation accusation cited in recall effort against school district trustee Mike Vuittonet (via Idaho Statesman): http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/education/article43799493.html
Nov. 6: Former Bonner County land use planner sues to regain job after accusing commissioners of violating open meeting law when deciding whether or not to fire him (via Bonner County Daily Bee): http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com/news/local/article_a916e67e-8451-11e5-ae80-ab9af2bdbe3a.html
Oct. 26: Cassia County panel chairman sends e-mail instructing panel members to violate open meeting law if reporters attend upcoming meeting; accidentally CCs reporters on said e-mail (via Times-News): http://magicvalley.com/news/local/mini-cassia/panel-colluded-on-police-deal/article_6de3a4b3-e456-5138-bc62-d87ecef43808.html
Oct. 14: Sun Valley City Council violates open meeting law by authorizing changes to contract with law firm in executive session (via Idaho Mountain Express): http://www.mtexpress.com/news/blaine_county/city-attorney-council-broke-open-meetings-law/article_46a1d97c-721d-11e5-9a95-6f5da7ef9e3e.html
Sept. 29: Burley City Council admits to open meeting violation after unnoticed meeting regarding airport (via Times-News): http://magicvalley.com/news/local/mini-cassia/burley-council-admits-open-meeting-violation/article_28fed139-4022-5977-b81c-5550bc386857.html
Sept. 29: West Ada School District trustees void Superintendent Linda Clark’s contract extension after open meeting violation, then go into executive session, with one trustee accusing his colleagues of once again violating open meeting laws (via Idaho Education News): http://www.idahoednews.org/news/west-ada-trustees-void-superintendent-clarks-contract-extension/#.Vg1lPvlVhBd
Sept. 29: Idaho lawmakers pledge to open tax working group meetings to the public after previously meeting with little public notice (via Spokesman-Review): http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/sep/29/idaho-lawmakers-pledge-to-open-up-tax-discussions/
Sept. 27: Cassia County commissioners admit to third open meeting violation, but agree to pay back Perkins bill that taxpayers originally picked up (via Times-News): http://magicvalley.com/thevoice/news/cassia-commission-admits-to-rd-open-meeting-violation/article_74512d95-b81e-5ff5-a977-551a73fe9634.html
Sept. 20: Prosecutor: Transportation group violated open meeting law for its entire 25 years of existence; group will now post meeting notices (via Times-News): http://magicvalley.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/prosecutor-transportation-group-broke-open-meeting-laws-for-years/article_1aedc2d0-1887-55cf-abe5-ee269a1b367f.html
Sept. 17: Snake River Alliance accuses Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance of holding two meetings without posting notifications or agendas until after the fact: http://snakeriveralliance.org/energy-office-reveals-second-non-publicized-meeting-on-idaho-energy-policy/#more-5762