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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Why are citizens being kept in the dark?

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Dear Editor:

Delta and Gunnison counties held a joint work session in Delta on Wednesday, Aug. 30, regarding several issues that were of interest to many of us: the North Fork Methane Work Group, the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative, trail connections between Paonia and Crawford to the Gunnison Area, the ICELab/Business Development/EDA Grant, outdoor recreation industry opportunities, the Gunnison sage grouse, and oil and gas updates. In spite of this fact and in spite of the open meeting Sunshine Laws of the State of Colorado, Delta County did not give proper 24-hour notice of this meeting.

Why is Delta County violating the state Open Meeting (Sunshine) Law? How many meetings are occurring on important issues that are not being disclosed to the public? In this politically stressful time when it is hard to ferret out fact from fiction many of us yearn for transparency: for honesty from our elected officials -- those folks whose salaries our tax dollars pay. Please take your civics lesson for the week and read the following excerpts from the state law so you can get the facts straight. Read to the end and you will note that you can inform the county if you wish to be notified of such meetings. The county is required to honor your request for announcements for two years with reasonable advance notice. Thank you, commissioners, for planning to correct this negligent violation of the law.

Open Meetings (Sunshine) Law C.R.S. 24-6-401+ LEGISLATIVE POLICY: It is declared to be a matter of statewide concern and the policy of this state that the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret. The law covers: All boards, committees, commissions, authorities and other advisory, policy-making, rule-making or other formally constituted bodies, as well as any public or private entities that have been delegated governmental decision-making functions by a body or official. Administrative meetings (staff, faculty) are not open. Local public bodies must open meetings of a quorum or three or more members, whichever is fewer, at which public business is discussed or formal action may be taken. PUBLIC NOTICE: Required prior to all meetings where the adoption of any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule, regulation or formal action occurs or at which a majority or quorum is expected to be in attendance. Notice must be "full and timely." No publication is required. State and local public bodies must also maintain lists of persons who request to be notified of meetings or discussions on specific topics and provide reasonable advance notice. A request covers a two-year period.

Elena Goldstein

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