On the Open Meetings Violations Complaints re: the City of Glen Rose Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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On the Open Meetings Violations Complaints re: the City of Glen Rose

19 March 2010 at 2:11:26 PM

Small recap here. According to B Huckaby of the CVB, signage was discussed in executive session at a City of Glen Rose meeting under the closed session exemption of the Open Meetings Act. I question whether that is a legitimate use of executive session and filed a complaint. I also filed a complaint re the meeting that was held recently despite the notice not being posted 72 hours in advance (I do not hold the clerks responsible for this, things happen, but when it was clear that proper notice had not been given, the meeting, I believe, should have been cancelled).  From the Texas AG Open Meeting site.

Open Meetings Act

The Open Meetings Act provides that meetings of governmental bodies must be open to the public except for expressly authorized executive sessions. The Act also provides that the public must be given notice of the time, place, and subject matter of meetings of governmental bodies.

District courts have jurisdiction over criminal violations of the Act as misdemeanors involving official misconduct. Thus, Open Meetings Act complaints should be presented to the county attorney or criminal district attorney. The Office of the Attorney General has no independent enforcement authority under the Act. For more information on the Open Meetings Act, please see our Open Meetings Handbook.

I feel a little bit like I am being given the runaround. The county attorney told me to file the complaint with the sheriff's department, despite the fact that the Open Meetings act says to file it with the county or district attorney. When, after a couple of weeks, I asked what the status was, the county attorney told me he had told the sheriff's department to file a report and my complaint directly with the DA in Johnson County. Today I asked and the sheriff's department told me they were giving the paperwork to the county attorney; the county attorney told me upon my call that he had called the DA and the DA told him to handle it. The county attorney then told me he is sending me a written response. I asked him if he had verified the Open Meetings Act with the AG, and he said, no, that takes 6 months to get an AG opinion.

I have a call in to the Open Government hotline to ask about this, calling the Open Government hotline ensures a reply within 2 hours or, if after 4:00 pm one day, the next morning.  Will update this then. If I am wrong, and it is perfectly fine for anything and everything to be discussed in executive session out of the hearing of the public, I will eat humble pie and say so here.

UPDATE: Heard back from hotline. In general, although of course the AG's office cannot make specific determinations without examining a situation and hearing and investigating all the facts, signage would not fall into the economic development exemption (In the words of the AG rep- "I fail to see how that would fall into that...") . In general, economic development has more to do with real estate or other things from new entities coming to a city where deals are made to encourage the businesses to come.  He did say that it wasn't necessary for me to go to the sheriff but I could go directly to the DA. I'll wait for the letter which is coming back at this point from the county attorney and see what it says.

UPDATE #2-Heard back from county attorney, have now filed with the DA in Johnson County.

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