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Mixed grades for town, school compliance with Open Meetings Law amendment

Meeting packets must be placed online

The Johnsburg Town Board meets at Scout Hall in Sodom Tuesday, April 17.

The Johnsburg Town Board meets at Scout Hall in Sodom Tuesday, April 17. Photo by Mike Mender.

— This is the information — the meeting packet — that should be available on the public body’s website “prior to the meeting.”

Obviously, if something was added to the agenda an hour or so before the meeting, it would not have to be placed on the agenda (unless a board wants to release an addendum) and that information would not have to be placed online because of time constraints. That’s understandable. And that’s where the language “to the extent practicable” makes sense.

So it’s this meeting packet that is the foundation of our grading system, since it’s the heart of the amendment. However, at the News Enterprise, we’re holding these boards to a higher standard.

We feel the public would most benefit from having public bodies also post agendas and minutes (as many already do since they are usually part of the meeting packet).

Furthermore, this material would be most helpful if it was permanently archived, not just posted temporarily until the next meeting.

Therefore, we’re grading boards by having the following posted on their websites: agenda, meeting packets and minutes.

We’ve also adjusted grades for permanency of that material on their websites, giving higher grades to boards that have archived them instead of temporarily posting them for a week or two.

Town

Grade: A — Town of Indian Lake — agenda YES, meeting packets YES, minutes YES (archived and updated)

Grade A minus — Town of Minerva — agenda YES (temporarily), meeting packets YES (temporarily), minutes YES; nothing is archived

Grade: C — Town of Johnsburg — agenda YES (temporary), meeting packets NO, minutes YES (archived and updated)

Grade: C — Town of Long Lake — agenda YES (archived), meeting packets YES (resolutions only), minutes NO; meeting notices and agendas not updated (as of Jan. 16)

Grade: D — Town of Newcomb — agenda NO, meeting packets NO, minutes YES (not updated)

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