What part of ‘Open’ don’t they understand?

Helen Barrett of the Alva Review-Courier asked that question on the newspaper's opinion page last week.

She wondered what an airport commission member meant when he motioned to table the solution to a longtime, long-discussed problem "until we have time to talk this over."

Barrett said the comment "seems to suggest a decision will be reached improperly – if not illegally – in privately held discussions somewhere out of the eye of the public."

Barrett, a member of FOI Oklahoma's board of directors, posted a video of the commissioner making the remark. So decide for yourself.

Either way, Barrett's column provided a useful reminder to all public bodies in Oklahoma:

Public meetings are where public business is supposed to be discussed. Things aren’t supposed to be tabled until the board members can 'discuss' it in private – away from the public, away from reporters or video cameras.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.