Bell: Of open meetings and closed governments

From the Columbine Courier (South Jefferson County):  By Doug Bell Courier Editor

Say what you will about Littleton resident Carol Brzeczek — just say it in public.

Brzeczek has been fighting the good fight for open government as a member of the “Sunshine Boys,” a grassroots organization which last fall spearheaded a successful citizen initiative that restricts the Littleton City Council’s ability to disappear behind closed doors to make public policy.

A former Littleton school board member, Brzeczek knows all about the tendency of government officials toward secrecy, and about the danger posed to democracy when our politicians drink this covert Kool-Aid.

It’s a lesson we’ve learned repeatedly in Jefferson County, from the Columbine coverup to repeated violations of the open-meetings law by previous county commissioners.

More recently, outraged calls for open government have been heard from the Jeffco school board minority, who were annoyed by the new majority’s efforts to hire a board lawyer in a hurried process outside of public view.

I personally have taken an inordinate amount of abuse for not joining the crusade to slam the new board majority for its lack of openness. But let me offer in my defense a case of battle fatigue brought on by an open-meetings skirmish with the board minority — while they were still in the majority. And let me also point out that my foes were led by — guess who? — their own attorney.

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