Know the law

opinions

February 18, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Not only should public officials of all ilk make available to public scrutiny all that they do, they also should avail themselves of any and all opportunities to know what is contained in open meetings and open records laws, down to the fine print.
All governing bodies have attorneys to advise them, but often those attorneys aren’t present when questions about either law surfaces. Executive sessions, for example, occasionally occur because of discussion that unfolds during a meeting, not as a foregone conclusion beforehand.
Tutorials on the laws are held periodically by statewide school, county and municipal organizations. Public officials should take advantage.
Also, special sessions may be arranged and would be a capital idea, particularly for newly elected officials.
The Kansas Press Associations — and surely other applicable bodies — provide condensed versions of each law that are handy to have. They’re easy to read and to the point.
Ignorance of the law, the age-old saying goes, is no excuse, and shouldn’t be lost on public officials.
And, transparency in government never has been more essential than today.
— Bob Johnson

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