Director named for Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Department

The War Veterans Commission hired an executive director Friday to head the state's Veterans Affairs Department, retaining interim director John McReynolds for the job.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Modified: December 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm •  Published: December 15, 2012
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“I'll just put it straight and plain and simple as I can,” Howell said.

“As a commissioner we cannot get together more than four of us without it being an Open Meeting Act.”

Howell said that causes problems because more than four commissioners are also members of the VFW and the American Legion.

He said he has spoken with two senators about proposing a bill to change the law to allow four or more commissioners to meet without it violating the state's open meetings law.

Oklahoma's Open Meeting Act requires that any gathering of a quorum — defined as voting majority of board members — must be a public event with an agenda and posted notice.

“I said just throw it all out and say commissioners can meet whenever they wanted to, to discuss the problem that you have so you can have an answer when you come to these meetings on the problems we are having to address now,” Howell said.

Commissioner Richard Putnam said the open meetings requirements are good.

“My interpretation is we're not prevented from attending things like conventions where we are all members, we are just prevented from meeting as commissioners during those events,” Putnam said. “In psychology we call it face validity. I think in order to have the public's trust we need to demonstrate we will not meet secretly.”