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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Quincy Open Meeting Questioned

The Columbia Basin Herald reports: "It is unclear if the Quincy City Council violated the Open Public Meetings Act by going into executive session to discuss an officer or employee without notifying the person first. ...

"According to the Open Public Meetings Act, '(An executive session can be held) to receive and evaluate complaints or charges brought against a public officer or employee. However, upon the request of such officer or employee, a public hearing or a meeting open to the public shall be conducted upon such complaint or charge.' 'It would seem that such a duty is implied but it's not explicitly required they notify the employee,' Washington State Attorney General's Office Deputy Solicitor General Tim Ford said. 'If you weren't told, you would certainly have a valid complaint. It seems they should have been notified.' If the city official or employee requested the meeting stay open, council would be required to leave the meeting open to the public, he said.'The language is clear,' Ford said. 'This is a due process right protected by the Open Public Meetings Act. If an employee is not informed of this due process right, their rights have possibly been violated.'"