Poudre school board nixes executive session vote over open meeting issue

From the Coloradoan (Fort Collins):  Three members of Poudre School District’s Board of Education ultimately withdrew their vote Friday to move a public meeting into private session over concerns the vote violated Colorado open-meeting law and PSD policy.

The vote to enter into executive session, which happened during a public meeting to provide legal advice to new board members Nate Donovan and Rob Petterson, was nixed following the objection of meeting attendee and community activist Eric Sutherland.

Following Sutherland’s objection, board legal and policy counsel Tom Crabb realized the vote was in error, board President Cathy Kipp said, and the meeting was adjourned without the board moving to private session.

PSD bylaws state that a board majority — at least four members — must be present for the board to take official action such as conducting a vote. Without a majority present at a posted public meeting, board members can only have discussion in open session.

“It’s obviously not what we would have preferred to happen,” Kipp said. “We felt we were OK, but Eric objected and Tom checked. … We didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t OK.”

The topic to be discussed in private was a bill passed earlier this year to reform the state’s Urban Renewal Authority law.

The board had previously received legal advice and conferred with the district’s attorney during an executive session in September, Kipp said, before Donovan and Petterson won November elections.

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