For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: September 14, 2006
Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Teton County Commissioners on Open Meeting Law Violation
(Boise) – The Office of Attorney General and the Teton County Commissioners have reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit involving allegations that the Teton County Commissioners violated the Idaho Open Meeting Law. The settlement, filed Wednesday, is subject to approval by the District Court in Teton County.
Under terms of the settlement, Commissioners Mark Trupp, Jay Calderwood and Roger Hoopes acknowledged that they violated the Open Meeting Law on May 30, 2006, by meeting in executive session without providing meeting and agenda notice and by failing to take written minutes of the executive session. The commissioners have each paid a civil penalty of $75.
“Although there were violations of the Open Meeting Law, the findings of our investigation indicate that they were inadvertent, rather than deliberate,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “The commissioners should be commended for admitting, and taking responsibility for, their mistakes, rather than condemned for having made them.”
Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Bart Birch referred the matter to the Attorney General after receiving a complaint from Jeanette Boner, Managing Editor of the Teton Valley News.
An investigation by Deputy Attorney General Mitch Toryanski found that Teton County Clerk Nolan Boyle called Ms. Boner on the morning of May 30th to invite a representative of the Teton Valley News to observe the commissioners’ canvass of primary election ballots. Following the canvass, the commissioners met in executive session. The commissioners had not provided advanced written notice to the public of that executive session, as required by law. Additionally, the commissioners did not provide for the taking of written minutes. The Idaho Open Meeting Law requires governing bodies to take written minutes of all meetings and make them available for public inspection within a reasonable time after the meeting.
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