Norman councilman accuses mayor of violating Open Meetings Act

Norman City Councilman Tom Kovach is claiming Mayor Cindy Rosenthal violated the state's Open Meeting Act during discussions about the city manager's impending pay raise.
by Andrew Knittle Published: March 19, 2013
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— A Norman city councilman is claiming the mayor of Oklahoma's third-largest city violated the state's Open Meeting Act during discussions about a possible pay raise for the city manager.

Mayor Cindy Rosenthal, who is up for re-election in two weeks, called the accusation “politics ... there's nothing to it.”

Councilman Tom Kovach, who represents Ward 2, told The Oklahoman that the mayor violated the law by sending a memo to council members in February, discussing pay raise options for the city manager, Steve Lewis.

Kovach said the memo sent Feb. 19 by Rosenthal to council members represented a “walking quorum.”

“It's been a practice of the mayor to, you know, send these kinds of memos and seek input outside of an open meeting,” Kovach said.

The memo, which was requested by “several council members,” was drafted with the help of City Attorney Jeff Bryant, Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal denied that the document — or how or when it was sent — is illegal.

“I send them memos about appointments, to boards and commissions,” Rosenthal said. “In fact, before we nominate people, I send a memo out telling them who I intend to nominate, and I ask for input.

“The item is then on the agenda and a public vote is taken.”

Bryant said that he doesn't believe that any Open Meeting Act violations occurred when Rosenthal sent the memo.

Bryant said his office is not releasing the memo because doing so would violate attorney-client privilege and because he views the document as belonging to the Norman City Council.


by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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