Missouri’s open records and meetings law has been around for 42 years, and yet, says the state Auditor, some entities still haven’t gotten it right.
State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office reviewed the audits conducted between January 2014 and June of this year. In 25 out of 187 instances, an audit found that the a public body had violated the state’s Sunshine Law.
Galloway says the most common violation was the discussion in closed session of topics that should have been discussed in public.
“When those meetings were closed the reasons for closing those meetings and then any related votes were not adequately documented,” Galloway told Missourinet.
Galloway hopes public bodies will look at the summary and learn from it.
“We’re going to come in, we’re going to look at their compliance with the sunshine law, we’re going to hold them accountable to it, and by looking at this report they can see some common things they can do to fix it so they can be more transparent and accountable to their citizens,” said Galloway.
Other common violations include failure to prepare minutes for open meetings or to approve them in a timely manner; a lack of policies for providing the public with access to documents and inconsistent fees for providing them.