Is it time for Weld Co. commissioners to revamp their interpretation of the Open Meetings Law?

The Greeley Tribune: A longstanding practice of how the Weld County commissioners conduct meetings may be violating the spirit of the Colorado Open Meetings law.

And some commissioners say they are willing to look at changing such practices if they continue to elicit allegations of being improper.

“I’m always open to being better and finding ways that more people know what we’re doing on work sessions or meetings at conferences,” said Commission Chairwoman Julie Cozad on Wednesday. “Transparency is the most important thing for me and the public. I have no problem with looking at that. But the way we’re doing things is the way it’s been done for a long time, 20 to 30 years, because I worked here in the ’90s. It hasn’t changed.”

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway has accused his fellow commissioners of violating the spirit of the Colorado Open Meetings law by talking about county business at lunch or in parking lots without proper notice to the public.

One specific meeting that all five commissioners held on Nov. 30 was at a Colorado Counties Inc. conference in Colorado Springs. Such conferences are held for commissioners throughout the state to study issues important to counties and discuss pending legislation or even take leadership courses.

At that conference, the commissioners sat down to discuss their roles for 2017 — who would be elected chair and which commissioners would be appointed to oversee which county departments.

Such a meeting is a tradition among the commissioners, said outgoing chairman Mike Freeman. In 2012, he said, Conway was the chairman, and he called the same meeting.

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