Steamboat Springs City Council violated open meetings law, attorney says

From Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs):  The Steamboat Springs City Council has violated the state’s open meetings law in recent weeks by improperly convening some executive sessions and taking what could be considered an action behind closed doors, according to an attorney who represents the Colorado Press Association.

Chris Beall, who has previously represented the Steamboat Today in cases involving the state’s sunshine laws, said the council has not been specific enough about announcing the purposes of some of its recent executive sessions before it convenes them at meetings.

The council’s decision last week made behind closed doors to direct City Attorney Tony Lettunich to start negotiating a possible separation agreement with City Manager Deb Hinsvark also may have violated the state’s open meetings law.

Beall said Wednesday that the law prohibits a public body from “adopting any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule regulation or formal action” while behind closed doors.

“If the Steamboat Springs CIty Council came to a consensus on the policy of seeking a separation agreement with the city manager, such an adoption of a proposed policy is something that may only be done in public, rather than behind closed doors during an executive session,” Beall wrote.

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