Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's Up at those City Council/County Board Meetings?

Have you ever gone to a public meeting of the city council, commission, or county board, school board, or other public body, and you want to know what the members of the meeting are talking about or referring to?  You may also want to look at the documents on the budget, or the licensing issue or any issue that could affect you that is the subject of the meeting.

I have many times.

What I look for is a folder/notebook which usually has all the printed materials   that members of the public body has before them.  The specific section of the law that gives you the right to inspect and review information/documents at a public meeting is 13D.01, subdivision 6.

There have been instances where I have gone to public meetings, and could not find the materials that should be available to public. When I have asked the person responsible for logistics and setting up the meeting-Where are the materials?.  The response sometimes is "Oh you can look at them on the Internet."or "I did not know that", or even "I forgot."

Granted this happens, but it does not mean that is excusable particularly using the Internet as a rationale.  Government entities should know what the law is.

Today I popped in the Metropolitan Council meeting.  I looked for the folder/notebook.  I did not find one, but what I saw was a number of copies of materials on the table in separate piles outside the meeting room.  My impression is that could have been the package of material that was before the Council per the Minnesota Open Meeting Law.  Have to compliment the Council if it was the material that its great to have more than one copy for public to review, inspect, and take if interested.

Next time you go to a public meeting of a public body, and you are wondering what the heck they're talking about, remember the section of law I have told you about.

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