Sustained Outrage

Secret meetings, April 27, 2012

Today’s issue of The State Register contains one meeting that violates the public notice provisions of West Virginia’s open meetings law — but it’s a pretty interesting one.

The agency involved is the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.  Their notice, published today, indicates that they are having a meeting on Monday to interview semi-finalists for the higher education system’s new chancellor.  Of course, today’s publication of a notice for a meeting on Monday is short of the five-day notice required under West Virginia law.

Just for the record, violations of the open meetings law can lead to court injunctions blocking any action taken at a meeting. And knowing violations can prompt criminal charges against public officials.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.