Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mt. Vernon officials violated open meetings law

The Mt. Vernon City Council and Mayor Clarice Kirby violated Kentucky's open meetings law, according to a ruling from the office of Attorney General Jack Conway.

The opinion issued Jan. 25 said the council had "discussed and voted upon public business during a series of less than quorum meetings by telephone, and the members attending one or more of the meetings collectively constituted a quorum." The council also failed to issue a written response to a complaint about the action submitted to council members by Don Jones. Both are violations of the Kentucky Open Meetings Law.

Mayor Kirby was indicted in December on charges of bribery, insurance fraud, official misconduct and two counts of abuse of public trust. She has pleaded not guilty, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. As a condition of her release from jail, a judge ordered that Kirby not exercise sole authority to pay city bills or spend public money.

The attorney general's ruling said that within several days of her release from jail, Mayor Kirby directed the city clerk to poll "each member by telephone regarding the public business of paying bills and the scope of her authority relative to same."

The Open Meetings Act prohibits “meeting in number less than a quorum for the express purpose of avoiding the open meetings requirements of the Act.”

For the full text of this and other state attorney general opinion issued today, see Links of Interest below. The opinion is 10-OMD-015.

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