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No decision reached in filling Oklahoma Ethics Commission post

Members of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission interview four finalists in closed session. A state lawmaker tried unsuccessfully to be allowed to attend the executive session.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: November 28, 2012

Commissioners took no action on applicants seeking the general counsel position.

Pettigrew said she is “extremely optimistic” that an executive director will be named at the Dec. 14 meeting. Whoever is named executive director “in all probability” won't be able to start working at the agency until the end of the month, she said.

She said commissioners were pleased with the finalists for the top job at the agency, which writes civil penalty rules governing state campaigns and the conduct of state officers and employees.

Reynolds cited the same section of the state's Open Meeting Act in August when he requested to attend a closed board meeting of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs Commission when its members were interviewing finalists for its executive director opening. Board members decided to let Reynolds attend the closed session.

Reynolds said he discovered the section of the law late last year when legislative leaders allowed a couple of lawmakers to attend a closed session to consider a settlement of a lawsuit filed against the state Department of Human Services.

Reynolds said he should have been allowed to attend the Ethics Commission's closed session because the word confidential appears only once in the section dealing with executive sessions.

“It doesn't say anything about confidentiality with regards to discussing the employment, hiring, appointment” of an employee, he said.

Leader said, “The very notion of executive session is that the discussions really are confidential. That's the reason they're closed.”

We had four excellent interviews, all outstanding candidates. We did thoroughly vet them. … We need to just check out a few other little details and think about some things.”

Jo Pettigrew,
Oklahoma Ethics Commission chairman


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