Sustained Outrage

Secret meetings

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The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments of government they have created.

That’s the preamble to the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act. Among other things, the law requires state and local government bodies — everything from a city council to the state Board of Public Works — to let citizens know when and where they are meeting, so anyone who wants to attend can do so.

So under the law, state agencies must file a notice of any meeting with the Secretary of State in time for it to appear in the State Register at least 5 days prior to the date of the meeting. (That’s W.Va. Code 6-9A-3 for anyone who wonders).

Every week, the Secretary of State lists those meeting notices in the State Register. And the helpful staff there are kind enough to put an asterisk next to each agency that missed the five-day deadline.

We’re going to list those agencies every week in Sustained Outrage, in the hopes that a little bit of publicity will encourage state officials to start complying with the notice requirement.

This week, the State Register list is pretty short:

W.Va. State Board of Architects

The Partnership to Promote Community Well-Being

30th Judicial Circuit Public Defender

We’ve also included the links to these agencies, in case readers want to go online and drop them a note, encouraging them to operate in a more public manner. If you know about Open Meetings violations, tell us about them with an email to watchdog@wvgazette.com