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Open Meeting Act alive and well

Modified: March 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm •  Published: March 20, 2013

The “letter of the law” of the Open Meeting Act is alive and well under the watchful eye of Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. While one might argue the misdemeanor charges leveled against members of the Pardon and Parole Board are trivial and without merit, you can't argue about the tenacity, dedication and thoroughness of Prater. Even “Prosecution may do more harm than good” (Our Views, March 15) admits that “no one should be exempt from prosecution.”

That's a good thing for the public. City council and school board members will hopefully pay attention and note that compliance with the Open Meeting Act is taken seriously by this DA. They had best review and adjust their procedures accordingly. This includes their website and posted agenda. It's not enough for council or board members to say they relied on legal counsel to escape absolute compliance with the law. Too many times, important items are excluded or vaguely written on the posted agenda. Decisions are made over the phone or behind closed doors in a veiled “executive session” on items not protected under the executive session exemptions. The defense that “we did not meet with a quorum” while conducting business indirectly by phone is insufficient and contrary to law. You can't do indirectly what you can't do directly.

Total transparency and the public's right to know are the basis of the Open Meeting Act. Finally, we have a district attorney with the courage and conviction to address it.

Randy L. Goodman, Harrah