AG’s Office investigates open meeting violation | NevadaAppeal.com

AG’s Office investigates open meeting violation

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office is looking into an allegation from Carson City School Board member Joe Enge that the board violated the state’s open meeting law.

In a letter to Board President John McKenna on Tuesday, Carole Brackley, open meeting law coordinator for the AG’s office, has requested audio and video recordings, along with the minutes of the Aug. 14 meeting, which Enge alleges are “substantially insufficient.”

According to Enge, comments by former board member Sheila Ward were omitted, as well as all of his comments concerning agenda items. Enge added, “Mr. McKenna’s refutations and personal, ad hominem, non-collegial, personal attacks on me were not in the minutes.”

In a letter of complaint to the AG’s office dated Aug. 30, Enge noted that he had submitted a transcript of his prepared comments and they were not added to the minutes, only mentioned in a footnote stating they were available for review in the district office.

“I think this censored and sanitized version is a blatant violation of the OML. These misleading minutes when read by the public do not reflect the true discussion of the meeting and requires a visit to the district office to get any sense of what was really discussed,” Enge wrote.

“The actual substance of the discussion was missing in the minutes for Aug. 14,” Enge said Thursday.

According to Nevada’s open meeting law, remarks made by a board member or the general public must be included in the minutes if so requested.

Enge said Thursday he could not recall if he specifically requested they be added.

He also said he was disappointed that questions he had about the teacher’s union hosting a mandatory new teacher orientation at the Carson Nugget were not on the agenda.

Enge questioned why employees of the district were required to attend an event put on by a group in contract negotiations with the district.

“At a time when we are actually in negotiations about a contract it’s best to avoid a conflict,” he said.

Enge said prior to the board’s approval of the Aug. 14 minutes at their Aug. 28 meeting, he pointed out the problems.

“Despite that warning the board still passed the minutes six to one,” he said.

In response to the complaint, the Attorney General’s Office can bring a lawsuit against the School Board within 120 from the date of the alleged violation. Any such lawsuit brought to have an action declared void must be commenced within 60 days.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.