Oklahoma Attorney General admits wrong advice given on Open Meeting Act

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office admitted Friday that it gave incorrect advice to the state’s new Workers’ Compensation Commission concerning requirements of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.
by Randy Ellis Published: July 26, 2014
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The state Attorney General’s Office admitted Friday that it gave incorrect advice to the new Workers’ Compensation Commission about the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.

Because of that admission, a criminal investigation of the commission now will be dropped, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Friday.

“That resolves my review of the situation,” Prater said. “Our case is closed.”

The admission by the Attorney General’s Office does not resolve all of the commission’s problems, however.

The Open Meeting Act states that any action taken in willful violation of its provisions “shall be invalid.”

The commission has been under fire recently for several closed-door meetings it has held concerning matters ranging from the commission’s budget to a presentation by a potential vendor. The commission also created a furor when it terminated 16 employees.

It was unclear late Friday what, if any, commission actions may be declared void and what remedial actions may be required.

Commission Chairman Troy Wilson announced late Wednesday that the commission would start over on the bid process to purchase an electronic data interchange system for the agency because of questions that were raised about a closed-door informational meeting between one potential vendor and commissioners.

Staff members of the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services had cautioned commission employees before the meeting that allowing commissioners to attend the closed meeting with the vendor would appear to violate the Open Meeting Act.

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by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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