DeVaughn's testimony in a lawsuit filed against DHS by an out-of-state advocacy group indicated the Open Meeting Act could be a hassle. He said various committees within the commission are kept to four members, because five would require having to comply with the act. Those committees sometimes meet with fairly short notice “and to conform to the Open Meeting Act, it would be a pretty onerous task,” he said.
On Sunday, The Oklahoman reported that the commission never voted publicly in 2008 to approve the hiring of outside attorneys to represent DHS in the lawsuit, and that agenda items at the time didn't mention such discussions would take place regarding that issue. General counsel Charles Waters says no laws were broken, and that commission OK isn't needed to hire outside attorneys.
That may indeed be the case. But the pattern isn't encouraging.
The attorney general's seminars about open meetings and open records began Monday in Ardmore. Others are planned in Muskogee, Woodward, Tulsa and Lawton. Note to the Human Services Commission: The seminar in Oklahoma City is Nov. 7 at Metro Technology Center, 1900 Springlake Drive. It starts at 1 p.m.