Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Incumbents promising open government win re-election in Norman


Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal and Ward 4 Councilor Carol Dillingham were re-elected Tuesday night, the Norman Transcript reported.

Each has pledged, "I and the public bodies that I am elected to govern will comply with not only the letter but also the spirit of Oklahoma's Open Meeting and Open Records laws."

By signing FOI Oklahoma Inc.'s Open Government Pledge, Rosenthal and Dillingham also promised “to support at every opportunity the public policy of the State of Oklahoma that the people are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government so that they can efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.”

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into a Norman city councilman's complaint that the council violated the Open Meeting Act during an executive session on June 9.

Councilman Tom Kovach, who also has signed the Open Government Pledge, had contacted FOI Oklahoma on June 18 about the meeting. He believes that the council's discussion about financing the Rock Creek Road overpass at Interstate 35 violated the law because the agenda item for the executive session listed only the acquisition of right-of-way for the construction.

Perhaps because of the OSBI investigation, open government seemed to be a campaign issue in Norman.

Rosenthal's opponent, Ward 3 Councilor Hal Ezzell, signed the pledge in December.

Rosenthal received 54 percent of the vote.

In the Ward 4 race, one of Dillingham's three opponents, Austin Dyches, had also signed the pledge.

Dillingham received 72 percent of the vote.

Let's hope open government remains a priority for the mayor and council and that they live up to their promises.


Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

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