Claremore Daily Progress

Oologah/Talala

August 22, 2012

911 Advisory Board to talk about secrecy

Officials cite Homeland Security as reason to limit discussions

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

However, as currently presented, Hamilton and Assistant District Attorney David Iski are attempting to use what was designed to protect detailed information that could be tools for terrorist attacks as an umbrella for all operations.
The Homeland Security Act does not support this use to limit public access to information.
It is important to note the act was established to protect against terrorist attack, not open records requests or public meetings.
The advisory board is comprised of the Rogers County Commissioners Helm, Kirt Thacker, Dan DeLozier, Hamilton and other representatives from fire and police in the county.
As a governmental body conducting business, it is legally required to post public notice of its meetings, including an agenda of items that will be discussed in accordance with state statute and the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act.
The Oklahoma Open Meetings Act does provide for a public body to enter into executive session when it discusses matters to personnel, litigation and contract negotiations.  
The act does allow for an executive session when the topic relates to terrorism, but not for the operations of the 911 center.
Rogers County voters approved the extension of a sales tax in 2011 to provide for the $2 million 911 center. 
The public has a right to have the information presented in a public format to provided accountability for how the $2 million will be spent.
During Thursday’s board meeting Helm and Iski, who is legal counsel to the commissioners, briefly left the meeting. When they returned Helm suggested discussing matters about the 911 center would be a security risk.
The advisory board also proposed restricting the public’s access to 911 dispatch recordings without providing any statute to support such a decision.
Helm also said certain inquiries by Washington County officials about possibly joining the Rogers County 911 dispatching service should not be discussed in public.

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