Clear Creek commissioners again run afoul of Open Meetings Law

From the Clear Creek Courant (Clear Creek County):  A meeting among two Clear Creek county commissioners and a local business owner has once again raised questions about the board’s failure to follow the Colorado Open Meetings Law.

County Commissioners Tom Hayden and Phil Buckland met Dec. 9 with TallGrass Spa owner Gail Ridings to discuss her concerns about broadband access in her neighborhood.

At a public meeting a day earlier, Buckland raised concerns about whether advance notice of the meeting should be posted under the Colorado Open Meetings Law, since two of three commissioners — a quorum — would be in attendance.

The Open Meetings Law states that when a quorum of a public body discusses public business, that discussion must be open to the public and the press, with a few exceptions.

County Attorney Bob Loeffler told commissioners during the session that they should post the meeting. The commissioners then announced that only Hayden would attend.

“It’s a private meeting,” Hayden said.

According to Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, courts have held that meetings involving a quorum of a public body should be open when public-policy implications are being discussed. The commission has discussed broadband accessibility extensively in recent years, and the county is currently working on hiring a contractor to survey areas with the greatest needs.

After the Clear Creek Courant learned that Hayden and Buckland had both attended the meeting after all, Loeffler said in an interview he was not aware that two commissioners had attended, but that he didn’t believe the meeting should have been classified as public after all, because it didn’t involve policy-making.

Visit the Clear Creek Courant for more.

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