Thursday, April 7, 2011

District attorney asks police to investigate apparent open meeting violation by Pittsburg County Expo Authority

District Attorney Farley Ward has asked the McAlester Police Department to investigate an apparent violation of the Open Meeting Act by the Pittsburg County Expo Authority, the McAlester News-Capital reports this afternoon.

The FOI Oklahoma Blog on Sunday called on Ward to look into the Expo Authority's closed executive session not listed on its agenda last week.

Expo Authority President Anthony Drizness called for the executive session to discuss leasing the clubhouse at the old Thundercreek golf course to someone, the newspaper had reported last week.

Under the state Open Meeting Act, an executive session must be listed on the agenda unless the subject meets the definition of "new business," which the statute defines as "not known about or . . . could not have been reasonably foreseen' prior to the posting of the agenda and topic is one for which executive sessions are permitted."

It's unclear if discussing "whether or not to lease the club house" to someone met the definition of "new business" or fit within one of the nine permitted topics for an executive session.

Thank you to Ward for asking the police to investigate. That's a step in the right direction by the new district attorney.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.

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