October 15, 2015

Possible open meetings law violation reviewed


The city of Washburn is requesting an opinion from the North Dakota Attorney General’s office in regard to a meeting held by President Larry Thomas that may have violated North Dakota Open Meetings Law.

Thomas and fellow city commissioner Kit Baumann met on Oct. 5 at Washburn City Hall to discuss the garbage contract with Waste Management that is up in December. The commissioners, along with Ed Barnhardt and Tim Dockter, opened bid proposals from Circle Sanitation, Waste Management and Dakota Sanitation during the gathering.

"As soon as you open proposals at a city commission meeting, they’re open record," Thomas said, adding that he didn’t want people to read all of the other proposals before sending in their own.

Kit and Thomas had been delegated the task during a city commission meeting earlier this year, which according to the N.D. Open Meetings Law, designates them as a committee. Thomas said on Friday that he welcomed the opinion of the Attorney General’s office, which was then contacted by the Leader-News.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Kay Kelsch said that the office would contact Thomas to explain Open Meetings Law to him, saying that the meeting had clearly violated the law.

The Weather Network