Lakewood council dinged on open meeting rules

From the Lakewood Sentinel: When it comes to city council, the topics that don’t make it to discussion are just as important for the public to know as those that do.

Now Lakewood’s city council is taking steps to ensure more items of local concern are brought forward for discussion and the public can be there for it all.

During the April 4 study session, council decided to look at options for adding items to the agenda for debate and discussion. Those options include workshops and “looks ahead” at the end of regular council meetings.

“This is an opportunity for this council to do things different,” said Mayor Adam Paul during the meeting. “I really want to focus on the future of this council and move these ideas forward.”

The discussion followed on the heels of a March 29 article by Jeffrey Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, which said Lakewood’s city council had run afoul of Colorado’s Open Meetings Law.

The article focused on an email sent from Ward 4 councilwoman Barb Franks to Ward 1 councilwoman Ramey Johnson that included a spreadsheet from Ward 3 councilwoman, and council president, Shakti. That spreadsheet showed how council members stood on two issues Johnson wanted discussed: police at a local Wal-Mart and shopping carts being left on private property.

Under state open meetings law, three or more elected members cannot share thoughts on policy matters via nonpublic means (email, text, or phone) unless the public is allowed to observe the process.

Visit the Lakewood Sentinel for more.

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