The Supremes came out with their opinion on the Ada Commishes open meeting case today and it appears to the GUARDIAN the Commishes got off the hook for the $150 fine, but were found in technical violation of the open meeting law which has since been amended by the legislature.
It would be fair to say their actions would not be permitted under the new law.
The Idaho Attorney General had pushed the case after the Commishes went into executive session for the purpose of discussing potential litigation. Boise City Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt was in the same meeting and claimed there was discussion of matters not subject to executive session. No court has made a determination regarding the statements of the Commishes or Bisterfeldt.
The case reads a bit like Bill Clinton discussing what “is” is.
The Court’s CONCLUSION :
“Idaho Code § 67-2345(1)(f) allows a governing body to meet in executive session “where there is a general public awareness of probable litigation.” The statute does not require that an attorney be present at such meetings.
However, the executive session violated the open meeting law because the motion and votes to enter executive session were not recorded in the written minutes as required under I.C.
§§ 67-2344(1)(b) and 67-2345(1).
Although there was a violation, the Commissioners are not subject to a civil penalty
unless they were aware of the violation when they held the meeting. Because the Commissioners denied any knowledge of a violation, judgment on the pleadings is not proper. A factual determination of their state of mind remains.
The decision of the district court is reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.”
Justices TROUT, EISMANN and BURDICK CONCUR. JONES, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Bottom line–the decision doesn’t really matter to the average citizen and both the commishes and the AG can claim victory since the law has been changed.
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