Monday, September 8, 2014

An Open Meetings Act violation must occur
before the attorney general can address it

The attorney general will not address a violation of the Open Meetings Act that is anticipated but has not occurred, according to an August 8 opinion.

The opinion concerned an appeal by Michael Murphy in regard to the Glencoe City Council’s response to his July 1, 2014, written complaint, which alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act based on the council’s actions regarding non-agenda topics.

The attorney general found that the city had violated certain provisions of the act by “discussing and acting on non-agenda topics” at a June 16 special meeting.

According to the opinion, the council did not dispute the allegation and agreed to Murphy’s proposed remedy of conducting all of its special meetings and committee meetings “strictly in accordance” with the provisions of the relevant Kentucky statutes.

However, the attorney general cannot address potential violations of the act.

While Murphy may have expressed concern about the possibility of future violations, his proper remedy is to submit a complaint to the council’s presiding officer if he questions whether a violation has occurred and pursue an appeal if necessary, according to the opinion.

“The Attorney General cannot prospectively address violations of the Open Meetings Act that a complainant anticipates but that have not occurred,” the opinion stated.

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