Commissioner: Meetings Law Violated

A Minnesota Administration Department opinion tightens the state open meetings law.

The option by Commissioner Sheila M. Reger indicates that the Metro Gang Strike Force Advisory Board violated state law when a Minneapolis police official sent an e-mail to all board members about a statement he wanted to issue to the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune. Since a quorum of the board members responded to the letter, Reger decided, the e-mail exchange was the same as making a decision in person during a meeting.

But the public was not told in advance about the “meeting,” as state law requires.

“Here, a quorum of the advisory board, in addition to receiving information, commented on and provided direction …on a matter relating to the official business of the board,” Reger wrote.

Reger also suggested that lawmakers change the law to “clarify specifically what kinds of email communications are permissible” so such issues do not continue to arise.