By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
The Ely Times
Last week’s Ely City Council meeting included an agenda item that has put the city council in the hot seat with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
Pat Robison, who was a councilwoman at the time, filed a complaint in March with the Office of the Attorney General alleging a violation of the Nevada Open Meeting Law by the Ely City Council.
The complaint alleged that at a public meeting held on March 23, where the council continued to deliberate on a pending agenda item during a brief recess.
The agenda item was for the discussion and approval for Robison to attend the Rural Roundup in Elko on April 26-27 to represent the city.
The cost was gong to be up to approximately $215 to cover all of the costs for lodging, registration, etc. During the course of the meeting, Councilman Bruce Setterstrom requested a recess. Mayor Melody Van Camp recessed the meeting for approximately 3 minutes. When the meeting reconvened, Mayor Van Camp stated “we’re done, we’ve got this figured out.”
Quickly preceding the Mayor, Setterstron moved to “quash” the agenda item, and the motion was seconded by Councilman Sam Hanson. The Nevada Office of the Attorney General in their reply founds that the council violated the Open Meeting Law. The open meeting law mandates that all meetings of the public bodies by “on the record” and that “quashing” an agenda item is not an act recognized under the open meeting law, however the agenda item could be deleted.
The council had to take the corrective measures at last weeks meeting by placing this on the agenda and discussing it.
The previous open meeting law violation was sent by Lin Burleigh in February regarding several open meeting law violations during previous meetings in October, November and December of 2016.
Although there were nine allegations, only two were found to be in violation of the open meeting law.
Brett Kandt, Chief Deputy Attorney General for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, stated in the reply that this is the second open meeting law violation by the Council in three months.
The council was warned that any further violations may result in an action by the Office of the Attorney General City Training was also recommended.
City Attorney Chuck Odgers is currently coordinating efforts to have training regarding ethics and open meeting law to the city and county elected officials.