Archuleta County commissioners hold illegal meeting through email

The Pagosa Springs Sun:  On July 17, Archuleta County Commissioners Michael Whiting and Clifford Lucero violated the Colorado Open Meetings Law through email communications.

Because of the violations, Whiting gave the emails to SUN staff, which primarily concern a letter of cooperation from the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners to the Southwestern Water Conservation District.

In the agenda for the BoCC July 19 meeting, the purpose of the letter is described as a “letter from the Board of County Commissioners encouraging cooperative efforts between the Southwest Water Conservation District and the San Juan Water Conservancy District.”

In an email dated July 14 addressed to staff, fellow commissioners and Rod Proffitt, Whiting states that the letter, originally drafted by Proffitt, was an endorsement of the Dry Gulch project, as the letter “favorably mentions ‘Dry Gulch’ five times in five short paragraphs.”

County Attorney Todd Starr explained to SUN staff that it is legal for a commissioner to email his thoughts and information to fellow commissioners, assuming the commissioners who received the email don’t respond.

Colorado state statute defines a “meeting” as “any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by other means of communication.”

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