Editorial: Weld County commissioners must try to involve public in decision-making

The Greeley Tribune: One of the unsettling issues lingering from the kerfuffle among Weld County commissioners is the allegation they have conducted illegal meetings.

Have they violated the spirit or the letter of the open meetings law? We’re not sure. We aren’t able to let them entirely off the hook, nor can we say with certainty they have been conducting public business in private.

But we can say this: We think the increased scrutiny on openness and transparency is a good thing, and we would encourage commissioners to move forward with an increased commitment to those values.

We know commissioners are not allowed in a group of three or more, which would be a quorum, to vote. They also are not allowed to meet privately to discuss policy issues that are public business, even if they don’t vote.

Commissioners, however, are different than most elected officials. They are full-time employees with offices right next to each other, and they provide some daily oversight of specific county functions. State law does allow them a little leeway to discuss day-to-day operational issues as a group. If they want to decide whether to send a road-grader to northeast Weld County or southwest Weld County to respond to a resident’s complaint about a pothole, that’s probably not a violation of state law, even if three of them have a pow-wow to discuss it.

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