OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Phone call meetings that happen before public meetings at the Department of Tourism are raising concerns among advocates of government transparency. FOX 25 detailed the phone-call meetings during our four-part investigation into the Department of Tourism.
According to two former tourism employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, it is regular practice for tourism leaders to hold conference calls with commissioners prior to each meeting, one call in the morning with half the commissioners and the other call in the afternoon with the other four - each call and meeting avoids having more than 50-percent of the commission present.
Former tourism staff members say during these calls commissioners are able to ask questions and discuss what will be presented before the public is invited into the public meeting.
“They may be playing it a little close to the line with each phone call dealing with less than a majority of the board, but again the intent is to have public business conducted in public,” said former Oklahoma Attorney General and current Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson. “It seems to me, as described, that the methodology used by that department is circumventing the [Open Meetings] Act.” Read more...