Wednesday, October 19, 2011

AG's Office to Public Officials: Be specific on agendas; Ignorance of Open Meeting, Open Records laws not an excuse

Agendas for meetings of public bodies must be specific, the Attorney General's Office emphasized to government officials this week.

"Don't try to hide the ball," warned Janis Preslar, chief of the Attorney General's Office's general counsel office.

Preslar spoke on the state Open Meeting Act during a Monday seminar in Muskogee. The next workshop on the state freedom of information laws will be Nov. 7 at the Metro Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

The seminars are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The workshops are sponsored by Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma Press Association, Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation and FOI Oklahoma Inc.

Read Tulsa World and Muskogee Phoenix coverage of Monday's seminar.

Preslar said the Attorney General's Office reviews the agendas of all state agencies it advises and urged public bodies to have their agendas reviewed by their attorneys before posting.

Preslar also warned that ignorance of the law doesn't make a violation non-willful.

"Ignorance is not an excuse," she said. "Willful violation can mean that you didn't know about a law that you should have."

Pruitt should remind district attorneys of that.

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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