Washington County Commissioner Says No Attempt Made To Skirt Open Meetings Law

Monday, August 7th 2006, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A Washington County commissioner says Monday that no attempt was made to skirt the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act when an advisory committee on a new jail convened in Bartlesville in July.

County Commissioner Linda Herndon says the Washington County Public Safety Facilities Advisory Committee that met July 13th had no decision-making power.

She says this advisory role meant the meeting did not need to be open to the public, according to her understanding of state law. She says she made a mistake and that it won't happen again.

A recording of the group's meeting, obtained by the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, included Herndon saying that under the advisement of District Attorney Rick Esser and City Attorney Jerry Maddux, the meeting was closed to the public.

The Oklahoma Attorney General is responsible for prosecution of violations of the act. Calls to the Attorney General's office were referred to Esser.

Esser did not immediately return calls Monday.