Sunshine and Sunshine Laws
Alleged “straw polls” by elected officials are being conducted via email
Keep the public’s business in the public eye
With the coming of spring and sunshine being more prevalent in our sky, the Wave wants to take this opportunity to remind all elected bodies that in the act of governance within Wasatch County’s borders, the public’s business MUST be conducted in an open public meeting and not through electronic means.
This includes email correspondence, text messages and unofficial “straw polls” asked by members of a governing body to other members such as “how you would vote if this came up in meeting?”
A comment was made by a council member in a recent public meeting that stated this type of activity has indeed been taking place for a period of time and that the council member felt this practice should stop.
The Wave wholeheartedly agrees.
The Open Meetings Act states, in part, “It is the intent of the Legislature that the state, its agencies, and its political subdivisions: (a) take their actions openly; and (b) conduct their deliberations openly.” The only items allowed to be discussed out of the public eye are: personnel matters, collective bargaining sessions, discussions with agency attorneys, discussion of the acquisition or sale of public property.
It’s not really feasible to place every known email address of Wasatch County residents and beyond into your email chat, so we are gently reminding our elected officials to keep the public’s business in the open.
It is paramount to a free society that those elected to govern them, conduct their business where all have the opportunity to hear.