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The Public's Business

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Let what occurred recently with the Jordan School Board become a lesson learned for all public and elected officials throughout Utah.

The public's business needs to be done in public.

The Utah Attorney General ruled recently that the board violated Utah's Open and Public Meetings Act by going behind closed doors last fall for several study sessions. The Attorney General made the decision after hearing audio recordings of the sessions, which were reluctantly turned over to his office only after he threatened a lawsuit to get them.

Jordan School Board members contend they closed the meetings in order to discuss issues concerning the deployment of security personnel in the district. However, the tapes revealed board members also talked about policy and budget issues, in direct violation of the state's open meetings law.

Certainly, there are times when public bodies are allowed to meet privately. However, such occasions should be rare and are spelled out specifically in the Open and Public Meetings Act.

KSL encourages all public officials and their legal advisers in Utah to carefully review the law. Rather than looking for ways to skirt the law's explicit intent, we would hope they will follow the spirit of the law and always be open when it comes to doing the public's business.

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