The Claremore Progress recently alleged an executive session held by the trustees of the Claremore Public Works Authority (CPWA) was unlawful. The purpose of the executive session was to confer on matters pertaining to economic development and the creation of a proposal to entice a business to locate to the city.
Upon learning of the Progress’s allegations, city staff sought the advice and counsel of the City Attorney, as well as other available resources.
The city’s legal counsel contacted the District Attorney’s Office and advised the DA’s office of the agenda item and the intended purpose of the executive session. The DA’s office is the authority responsible for prosecuting charges for violations of the Open Meetings Act; therefore, the city consulted with the DA’s office in good faith effort to ensure any concerns could be discussed prior to the meeting. No such concerns were raised.
The City also contacted the Oklahoma Municipal League and found it was the opinion of both of their attorneys the City did nothing wrong by planning or holding the executive session and such executive sessions are proper and authorized by law. These attorneys specialize in municipal affairs and provide expert advice on these matters.
Research by city staff prior to the executive session showed dozens of cities, public trusts and development authorities across the state regularly convene in executive session to create proposals for businesses.
These sessions are part of the ordinary course of business and allow cities to negotiate in the public interest, without tipping their hand about their willingness to offer incentives.
The main disagreement between the City and the newspaper is what the City is considered according to the State Statute. The newspaper believes only non-profits can hold an executive session under that section.
The words “public trust” are also clearly outlined in that section. Because the executive session was an agenda item on the CPWA agenda and not the City Council Agenda, the governing board was acting as a public trust and not a city council. It clearly states that executive sessions are completely legal if those public trusts are “supported in whole or in part by public funds (which the CPWA is); entrusted with the expending of public funds (which the CPWA is); or administering public property (which the CPWA is); for purposes of conferring on matter pertaining to economic development (which the executive session did), including the transfer of property, financing, or the creation of a proposal to entice a business to locate within their jurisdiction (the specific purpose of the executive session) if public disclosure of the matter discussed would interfere with the development of products or services, or if public disclosure would violate the confidence of the business (which it would).”
The City of Claremore, with the help of Senator Sean Burrage and Representative Marty Quinn, has requested a formal Attorney General’s opinion on the matter. The City has been advised it could take three to six months to receive a response.
- Letters to the Editor
LETTER: Back to School drive helps area students
As a new school year approaches, Rogers County children and their parents are shopping to replace outgrown clothing as well as purchasing the required classroom supplies to start out the year ready to learn.
LETTER - Commissioners need to take initiative and retool road fund
It is so disheartening to read the positive stories about Tulsa County Commissioners and then have to stomach the actions of a couple of our current Rogers County Commissioners and several of the past ones.
Letter - District 2 residents are getting exactly what they asked for
Dear Editor:A few years ago, Robin Anderson was paid to attend classes for which she had no requirement to attend. Just to further her education at our expense. If your facts are correct, District 2 Commisioner Helm now has:
FINANCIAL FREEDOM ACQUISITION LLC; Plaintiff,
NORMA JEAN DORSEY AS TRUSTEE OF THE EVELYN HURST REVOCABLE TRUST DATED APRIL 28, 2010; et al. Defendants.
IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF ELVIN WARREN RHOTEN, DECEASED.
Keystone Pipeline project will bring more jobs, revenues
As a lifelong Oklahoma resident, I feel the need to write concerning the approval process of the Keystone XL Pipeline project. As I am sure you are aware this project is awaiting a Presidential permit for the pipeline to cross the U.S./Canada border.
Floral arrangement missing from Woodlawn Cemetery
On Tuesday, Aug. 16, my son and I went to Woodlawn Cemetery to place a floral arrangement on my husband’s grave to commemorate the second anniversary of his passing.
We placed the saddle arrangement on his headstone shortly before 2 p.m.
Freedmen should be Cherokee citizens
To the Cherokee Nations citizens, government officials and chief. I am a Cherokee Freedman. I live in Claremore, Oklahoma. I have been hearing all the decisions about the Freedman citizenship.
CCVB clarifies $200K hotel incentive; reader writes about volunteering
Two letters on 8/7/11
Duty and rest rules for commercial pilots delayed
I’ve read, with interest, Andy Pasztor’s r article in the 02 August edition of the WSJ on the latest delay in the publication of a final rule to update the decades-old duty and rest rules for most commercial flight operations. It has to be a great challenge to take a complex technical issue and reduce it to understandable terms for a general readership.
- More Letters to the Editor Headlines
- LETTER: Back to School drive helps area students