Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced May 26 that the Office of the Attorney General and the Fernley Swimming Pool District Board of Trustees entered into a settlement agreement to resolve a complaint that the Board violated the Open Meeting Law.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Board acknowledged that it violated the Open Meeting Law by meeting and taking action on Dec. 28, 2015 without proper notice to the public and a posted agenda, when the basis for the meeting did not constitute an emergency. The Board violated the Open Meeting Law a second time when it met on Jan. 5, 2016 and attempted to ratify the void action of Dec. 28, 2015 without an agenda item denoting that corrective action would be taken. Nevada’s Open Meeting Law requires public notice and agendas for meetings to be posted at least three working days before the meeting with a clear and complete statement of topics for consideration and clearly denoting that action will be taken.
During the December meeting, the Trustees deliberated whether the meeting was taking place in violation of the Open Meeting Law, and subsequently agreed to hold another meeting on Jan. 5. The Board later publicly acknowledged that the basis for the December meeting did not constitute an emergency. The Office of the Attorney General concluded that forgoing prosecution was in the public’s interest, and that settlement was an appropriate compromise, since the Board fully cooperated in the investigation of the complaint.
“Open government is essential to maintaining an informed democracy,” Laxalt said. “The Open Meeting Law ensures transparency by requiring public bodies to properly notice all meetings with a clear and complete agenda. My Office remains committed to keeping Nevadans informed by strict enforcement of this requirement.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, payment of a maximum $500 civil penalty for the violation is suspended, provided there are no new violations of the Open Meeting Law for a period of one year.
Chief Deputy Attorney General Brett Kandt and Senior Deputy Attorney General George Taylor handled the resolution of this complaint.