Guam – Guam – “Our View” is a periodic feature representing the editorial opinion of the Pacific News Center written by Jon Anderson.
OUR VIEW – “The Public’s Business Must Be Conducted Publicly”
There was a time, when we gave each reporter covering a government meeting a three by five note card containing a statement.
if they were asked to leave the meeting, they were to read the statement, in order to to get it on the record that we objected to the meeting being closed and media being removed.
Generally our open government law is pretty good, and most boards and officials understand it. No government meeting can take place behind closed doors unless it involves a genuine personnel matter, or in some limited circumstances a lawsuit.
Occasionally we are reminded that not all of our government officials know and understand this law. For instance Monday’s meeting of the Mayors Council.
Military officials were briefing them on the latest buildup plans.
No lawsuit….no personnel matter… just a briefing.
They closed the meeting. Here’s how chairman Mayor Paul McDonald responded to our reporter Clynt Ridgel, who asked why the meeeting was closed.
Uh…not exactly Mr. Mayor.
The meeting should have been open to the media, and the general public.
So here’s a friendly reminder for the mayors as well as any other elected officials, or anyone else sitting on a board…the public’s business must be conducted publicly. It’s called the Open Government Law, and we will always defend your right to know.