S.D. open-meeting panel weighs four complaints

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Open Meeting Commission will consider four complaints that state open-meeting requirements weren’t followed.

The panel of five state’s attorneys gathers by teleconference Friday, October 23, at 9:30 a.m. CT. The cases are:

Tom Kampmann v. City of Ward. The rural Moody County resident said three trustees for Ward met with a Minnesota couple to discuss a snow-plowing contract without giving public notice. The city’s attorney said it was a negotiation and therefore legal.

Mark Watson v. Belle Fourche City Council. Watson, managing editor of the Black Hills Pioneer newspaper, said the council wrongly expanded the permissible reasons for an executive session by discussing, in private, replacement of the air-handling system at a community building. The city’s attorney contends the council acted within the executive-session law.

Todd Woods v. Yankton County Commission. Woods said the Yankton County Commission acted illegally by adding several items to a meeting agenda at the meeting and taking action. The Yankton County attorney said one item was a continuance of discussion from a prior meeting and another item would have required detail that “would be cumbersome and impossible to manage.”

Caleb Gilkerson v. Pierre City Commission. Gilkerson said city officials failed to timely post on the city website an agenda for a commission meeting. A lawyer for the city said a technical problem prevented the agenda from appearing on the website 24 hours ahead of the meeting.

State law requires a county state’s attorney to investigate an open-meeting complaint. The county state’s attorney can then choose to prosecute, or find there wasn’t a violation, or send it to the state Open Meeting Commission, whose members are appointed by the state attorney general. South Dakota’s open-meeting laws are here.

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