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Sunday, July 1, 2007

School Board E-Mails Might Violate Open Records Law

"Friday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for applicants who are interested in the soon to be vacant Memphis [Tenn.] City Schools' superintendent's seat. But there is controversy brewing over how school board members are conducting business behind closed doors. ... A prominent Memphis lawyer told FOX13 that under Tennessee law, if there are individual conversations among board members about the opening - that is a direct violation of the law. There cannot be any closed meetings and said there is no reason why e-mail traffic couldn't amount to a meeting."

In Washington, an e-mail deliberation by a governing body violates the Open Public Meetings Act. This was established in the case of Wood v. Battle Ground School Dist. The Attorney General's Open Government Internet Manual, section 3.4(A), discusses the e-mail deliberation issue.