Idahoans for Openness in Government objects to closed Twin Falls meetings

From TWIN FALLS • Idahoans for Openness in Government filed a complaint against the city of Twin Falls Tuesday, claiming city officials have repeatedly violated the state’s open meeting law.

The complaint stems from the city’s use of closed subcommittees. The panels are made up of fewer than four City Council members, plus city staff and citizens. The groups make recommendations on who should fill open city positions and on city finances, for example.

The meetings were “purposely designed to evade the law,” wrote Betsy Russell, president of Idahoans for Openness in Government, in the complaint emailed to Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs.

“The Open Meeting Law applies to a subagency if it has ‘the authority to make decisions for or recommendations to a public agency regarding any matter.’ These City Council subcommittees clearly fit that definition,” Russell wrote in the complaint.

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The Idahoans for Openness in Government is a member of NFOIC. –eds