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State says no complaint received about July county council meeting

September 14, 2010

     A complaint a local resident said he filed in August at the state level about a county council meeting that may have been in violation of Indiana’s open door law apparently never made it to right place.
     South Whitley resident Terry Goodrich said he mailed the complaint form to the Indiana Public Access Counselor in August, but a representative from the office said Monday the complaint was never received.
     Indiana statute allows up to 30 days to file a complaint with the public access counselor from the date of an alleged violation of the open door law or other violation by a government agency.
     In July, Stephen Key, general legal counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, said he felt the meeting July 29 violated Indiana’s open door law.
     At the meeting, five of the seven council members were present and the majority voted down a request from Whitko Community Schools for a referendum on the ballot this fall to seek the ability to raise the district’s tax levy during the next seven years.
     The council adjourned, but recalled one of the members about 20 minutes later for a second, unannounced meeting, under the advisement of Whitko attorney John Whiteleather Jr., where the council voted to allow the referendum on the ballot.
     A lawsuit can still be filed to seek to overturn the council’s vote, but without an opinion from the Indiana Public Access Counselor the plaintiff would not eligible for reimbursement from the county upon a favorable decision from the court, according to Key.

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