Prosecutor: No meeting law violations

From the Coeur d’Alene Press

COEUR d’ALENE – Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh determined the Mica Kidd Island Fire District commissioners didn’t violate open meeting law when they conducted an executive session this summer.

Commission President Chris Shelton said Friday that the district’s elected board does the best it can with the resources and staff it has available. Shelton is facing a recall election in a few days. Another fire district commissioner, Larry Mundt, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

“I have made every effort to make sure that we’re complying with any applicable law related to open-meeting law and Idaho code,” Shelton said.

Fire district resident James King alleged that Shelton in particular was responsible for not following the law in calling for an executive session which took place on July 25.

King said in an emailed statement to The Press that he “firmly” stands by his assertion that there was never a valid open meeting, regular or special, from which the executive session was conducted.

“I challenge Mr. McHugh and (the fire district) to provide the actual documents, in accordance with the Idaho open meeting laws, that demonstrate there was a regular or special meeting noticed, held, and recorded in the minutes, from which this executive session was held,” King wrote.

King alleged that an executive session can only be “motioned for” during a regular or special meeting.

McHugh addressed the allegations Friday in a letter to King.

“I do not see anything that would indicate that the public was excluded from the portions of the meeting before or after the executive session was held,” McHugh wrote.

King also alleged that an email exchange is not an appropriate means of calling an executive session and taking a roll call vote.

“I agree with you that the roll call vote must take place in an open meeting, and cannot come about through email communication outside of a meeting, but find that the roll call vote to enter into executive session occurred during the meeting on July 25th as reflected in the minutes,” McHugh wrote.

King also alleged that proper notice was not posted on the door of the district’s firehouse.

“Our affirmative duty would be to prove that no posting occurred, and we cannot prove that with the evidence I have reviewed,” McHugh wrote.

Finally, King accused the commissioners of conducting fire district business following the executive session, again in violation of open meeting law.

“An investigation of what was discussed revealed that the discussion that took place after the executive session didn’t involve issues pending before the commissioners,” McHugh wrote. “Rather, the discussion was about existing friction between the commissioners and some members of the public, and other non-(district) matters.”

The recall against Shelton involves, in part, the allegation of an illegal executive session. Community members also say he has lost touch with residents’ “desires and wishes,” and they complained about a fee schedule that was developed to charge people for services provided by the fire district.

From the Coeur d’Alene Press

Not an IDOG member yet?