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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meetings in Restaurants: Quit It Already!

Two directors of North Dakota's workers compensation agency broke the state's open meetings law by meeting in a restaurant to discuss business without public notice, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said.

Stenehjem, in a legal opinion Monday, said the Workforce Safety and Insurance agency must draft minutes of the illegal meeting and provide a free copy to anyone who asks. Former WSI executive Jim Long, who filed a complaint with Stenehjem about the meeting, must receive a free copy, the opinion says.

Workforce Safety's operations are supervised by an 11-member board of directors. The board also has smaller subcommittees, which report to the full board.

Meetings of the smaller groups and the full board both require public notice under North Dakota's sunshine law, which is triggered if enough committee members show up to allow their respective boards to take votes and make decisions.

Stenehjem said the open meetings law was violated May 21 when Mark Gjovig, the chairman of the full board, and board member Mark Jackson met at a Bismarck restaurant the night before a scheduled meeting of the full board.

More here.

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