02/26/2018: "Hospital Board Catches Up On Open Government & Governance/Management"
(Attorney Richard A. Davis III presents to SJIH Commissioners & staff -IG photo -IG photo)
The Hospital Board held a Special Meeting on Monday to receive an update on the OMPA (Open Public Meetings Act), and one assumes the board, and perhaps legal counsel, may have decided the timing was appropriate, given that the Board had recently appointed a new board member after two of the members discussing one of the candidates qualifications by phone, i.e. they took action without a quorum and not in a public meeting. Related Story.
UPDATED & CORRECTION: The original story stated that the attorney said that action negated the appointment, but in fact he did not say that, he only noted what the law states, to wit: If a complaint were to be filed, and if it was proven and found that anyone committed a violation of the OPMA, including the Appearance of Fairness Doctrine, then any “action taken at a meeting which fails to comply with the provisions of the OPMA is null and void. RCW 42.30.060.” We regret, and apologize, for our error.
the law is clear that if the violation was not knowingly done, then it is unlikely a court would find against a board member.
One important lesson that came out of the training session had to do with executive sessions, which are allowed to be held to discuss real estate sale/purchase; negotiations on bid contracts; employee performance reviews; qualifications of applicants, and meeting with counsel on litigation, or potential litigation; but, while they may enter executive sessions for those purposes, they are not required to. Elected officials have on occasion entered into an executive session anytime it is allowed, even when it is not required, or necessary.
State law requires elected officials to receive official training on the OPMA the PRA (Public Records Act) every four years, and most elected officials take the training shortly after they take office, but some do not, but on Monday (02-26-18) the current sitting members of the San Juan Hospital Board sat through a two hour instruction on the OPMA and best government practices.