Friday, December 09, 2011

Open Meetings Act

Revisions to the Tennessee Open Meetings Act should be done sparingly and handled with great care:

It is true that the chief proposal, which comes out of Williamson County and is being sponsored in the Tennessee House in the next session by former House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin). The legislation was apparently brought to Casada by the Williamson County Commission. The proposed change would allow closed-door discussions among commissioners and other local officials so long as a quorum is not present. The problem with this approach is that it could too easily be used to circumvent public input simply by setting up two separate non-quorum meetings, quietly coming to agreement behind closed doors, and taking a vote at the public meeting without recourse to free, open, or public debate. Such a maneuver-however well-intentioned-is a serious danger to free government wherever it exists and should be discouraged at all costs.

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