City Attorney Dan Baldwin apprised Hillsboro City Council members of open meeting rules Tuesday at their regular meeting.
“This continues to be a hot topic at the state level so the mayor asked me to review the open meetings act,” Baldwin said. “Serial communication of public officials is being watched closely by the attorney general’s office.”
Baldwin said a violation of the open meetings law occurs when one council member talks to another outside of a public meeting, and then that person talks to another council member.
“The over-arching policy is that good government occurs with an informed electorate,” he said. “That takes places in planned and publicized meetings.”
Mayor Delores Dalke re-iterated that two people can talk to each other but then they cannot talk to another council member outside of a meeting.
Baldwin outlined a new ruling defining a quorum for open meetings. Instead of counting number of heads, a simple majority is required for governmental groups to conduct business.
For the Hillsboro City Council, that would mean at least three elected members have to be present to meet quorum requirements for an open meeting.
In other business:
- City Administrator Larry Paine outlined health insurance options. The council will hold a special meeting June 12 to make a decision on employee health coverage.
- Members heard that work will begin on First Street next week and citizens can expect barricades in that area as soon as Monday.
- Paine reviewed city budget items for 2013. Some changes include a line item for township or district fire equipment purchases, a request by the electrical department for a new digger truck, and the addition of a new truck for city street department head Dale Dalke. A proposed budget hearing will take place August 14.