Colorado county admits fault in open meetings case

Submitted by NFOIC on Wed, 01/06/2021 - 8:56am

Admitting its failure to comply with the state’s Opening Meetings Law, the Pitkin County government settled a lawsuit where its commissioners were accused of doing public business in private.

The agreement was reached in December. It came after Pagosa Springs attorney Matt Roane filed a court complaint in late October saying the county failed to broadcast the Board of County Commissioners adopting a motion Oct. 20.

That day, commissioners held a public work session that started at 1 p.m. and was streamed on the county’s website and Grassroots TV.

Ahead of the work session, the county commissioners had been in an executive session closed to the public. Going into the executive session, however, required a motion and vote from the commissioners That process is open to the public, but it wasn’t at the October meeting because the county did not broadcast it.

Richard Neiley III, a county attorney, said the virtual platform has created challenges when it comes to government transparency and being fully accessible to the public. Since March, meetings have been under attendance restrictions due to public health orders, which is why the county commission meetings have been streamed, televised and done over Zoom.

Read more at the Aspen Times.