Michigan Open Meetings Act

The State of Michigan has an act we citizens rely on to help assure open and honest government.  This means that there can be no legal way to hold a chat room meeting of officials over the Internet or get permission to act based on telephone poling of boards or other public bodies.  

In the City and County of Monroe there are occasions when the Michigan Open Meetings Act may be disreguarded in order to expidite matters.  In the regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Monroe, Michigan held on Monday, September 19, 2005 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers an expection was explained by Tom Russow, City Attorney. To Wit:

Tom Russow, City Attorney, responded to Council concerns stating that it is really a matter of judgment in light of the facts that were there at the time, that this is really a polling mechanism and he feels that it is appropriate and reasonable for this to occur.

The web keeper's opinion of the example I believed Tom Russow used was that time could be short and a good deal might be available on a piece of equipment.  If the deal was good, and a meeting cannot be held pursuant to the notice it is acceptable to disreguard the act.  (I makle not claim to quote him corrrectly or the words he used may have had a different effect).

From the Minutes: David Smith, 530 Hollywood, stated that it seems like we are saying that it is okay to have the “good old boy“ system and not follow the law.

My opinion of what I thought Tom Russow said was, using his anology, was that if a buddy has an old dump truck with a blown engine and time is short it is okay to disreguard the act and just buy it—this seems like we are saying that it is okay to have the “good old boy“ system and not follow the law.

In fairness to Tom Russo, your webkeeper has used analogies many times to attempt to explain a process or procedure.  I often need to try multiple times to get a point across.  I cannot second guess another, but Tom might have said, 'I  advise against every appearance of wrongdoing but case law on the open meetings act permits polling to be done in the case at hand given the circumstances.  Again I do not advise this as a routine procedure."

Read The Act

Read The Meeting Minutes

City Of  Monroe Web Site with Archived Meeting Minutes


The Monroe Evening News

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