County shuts public out yet again

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 4, 2010

County supervisors are given considerable leeway to do what they please with the tax dollars citizens and businesses provide to them.

Voters place great trust in these people, and in return they seek only good judgment and transparency in their government.

Open meetings laws, public records laws and just plain common sense indicate that very little government business should be done behind closed doors.

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But in Adams County, the supervisors continue to use the executive session, closed-door exceptions to the open meetings law as a way to simply block the public’s eye.

We have railed on this issue before when serious issues were on the line.

This week, however, a less serious, but equally blatant, abuse of the public’s right to know was witnessed at the board of supervisors’ meeting.

The simple task of selecting three representatives to a community recreation commission became a study in closed government.

Supervisors insisted on discussing their candidates behind closed doors, out of sight of the public. As an excuse supervisors will say that it was within the law by use of the exception that allows personnel matters to be discussed in private.

But the spirit of that law is intended to cover serious matters of privacy, such as pay issues or disciplinary matters.

In this case, the secrecy is a bit silly. Choosing un-paid recreation board members should not require such private discussions.

Of course, voters will ultimately have the choice to change all of those shenanigans when the next election rolls around. And we hope they select candidates who believe that it’s your government and you have a right to see what it’s doing.