Opinion: Open meetings demand open discourse

Rio Blanco Herald Times: Are the commissioners, returning and new, abiding by Colorado’s Open Meetings Act, aka the “Sunshine Laws”? Based on video and audio recordings, and comments from all three commissioners after Monday’s meeting, it would appear that two of our county commissioners made a decision about the future of the county attorney without including the third commissioner in the discussion.

Colorado’s open meetings law states, “… all meetings of two or more members of any state public body where any public business is discussed must be open to the public. A gathering of a quorum or three or more individuals of a local body constitutes a meeting. Emailed messages discussing pending actions constitutes meetings and are subject to the law.”

On a board of three, two members constitutes a quorum. Commissioner Woodruff has stated he was unaware of plans to dismiss Borchard’s appointment, while commissioners Rector and Moyer were in agreement both in the meeting by their votes and in comments made after the meeting, that “we” decided it’s time for a change.

So who is “we”?

Did that “we” include all three commissioners? If so, how was one of the three unaware of the decision to be made on Monday about the county attorney? Where are the records of the discussion between the commissioners? It didn’t occur in a public forum, and that’s contrary to the open meetings laws that help protect the freedoms and governmental representation we hold so dear.

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