The meetings have been, are and will continue to be totally illegal, until they begin to follow state law as to how to handle them.
Here's some of Linda's post:
I could list dozens of State of Alaska agencies who, along with the Personnel Board, post their public meetings responsibly (and ya'll know that I am FAR FROM a fan of the Personnel Board). They post online, where the public can access the information no matter where they live in Alaska and it's done in a timely fashion so folks who don't live in Anchorage can make plans to be there.
Alaska actually has an Open Meetings Act (AS 44.62.310) which "is a law that addresses public meetings and protects the public's right to know and opportunity to be heard." Within that Act is a section discussing that "reasonable notice" should be given of a meeting:
(e) Reasonable public notice shall be given for all meetings required to be open under this section. The notice must include the date, time, and place of the meeting and if, the meeting is by teleconference, the location of any teleconferencing facilities that will be used. Subject to posting notice of a meeting on the Alaska Online Public Notice System as required by AS 44.62.175 (a), the notice may be given using print or broadcast media. The notice shall be posted at the principal office of the public entity or, if the public entity has no principal office, at a place designated by the governmental body. The governmental body shall provide notice in a consistent fashion for all its meetings.
Note the mention of AS 44.62.175...the Alaska Online Public Notice System. It is a requirement for the Lt. Governor to maintain an online public record which includes "(2) notices of state agency meetings required under AS 44.62.310 (e). As we could see with the Personnel Board, most meet that requirement by announcing public meetings on their agency websites.
Interestingly enough, the Rural Action Subcabinet doesn't have their own website..."why" is another question worth asking.
Of course there are plenty of very appropriate places that could be used to post these meeting announcements, including the Division of Community & Regional Affairs headed by Advisory Committee member, Director Tara Jollie. However, while they announce meetings of other organizations, they do not announce meetings regarding the Rural Action Subcabinet.
Ms. Jollie clearly cannot be ignorant of the legal requirements, considering the DCRA website provides a page dealing with the Open Meetings Act, including a discussion of what constitutes "reasonable notice":
There are minimum mandatory notice requirements for certain actions, such as notice of a public hearing on a proposed ordinance, or election notice. There is, however, no specific number of days spelled out in statute that defines "reasonable." The general tone of case law on the subject has essentially found that This could vary anywhere from three months to three days.
The Rural Action Subcabinet cannot plead ignorance of the law, so they are clearly violating it (in the very least, the "spirit" of the law) with their eyes wide open. My suggestion to the Subcabinet is that they fix this .
I asked the new governor for information on policies of the rural sub-cabinet back in late July. I eventually got a partial answer to my questions. Ann Strongheart has been doing the same, only with far more detail and persistence - and she's been writing about it. Dave Donaldson from APRN had a 30-minute talk with the new Attorney General about this last week.
But Linda has - once again - hit one out of the park, with her unparalleled knowledge of public meeting law.
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