CITY WILL NOT BE PENALIZED
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NO PENALTY WARRANTED 7-7-10 LMS

City Attorney John McKinney told the Salmon City Council at its July 7th meeting that according to a legal opinion no penalties are indicated in the matter of an improperly conducted council meeting held in May.

McKinney said the issue of legalities was referred to Canyon County Prosecuting Attorney John K. Bujak for his investigation.

In his written opinion to Lemhi County Prosecutor Bruce Withers and City Attorney McKinney, Bujak said his investigation of recent actions by the mayor and City Council centered on any potential civil penalties related to possible violations of the state’s Open Meeting Law in a council meeting that occurred on May 24th of this year.

McKinney read the letter to the council in which Bujak said, “I sent investigators to Salmon to conduct an investigation and upon their return they reported their findings to me. By way of summary the investigators found that the mayor called an emergency meeting of the City Council to take action regarding Chief of Police Jim Spain on May 24th 2010.

“At this meeting the council made the decision to terminate Chief Spain. It is my determination that the meeting was not properly conducted pursuant to Idaho’s Open Meeting Law.

“After consulting with legal counsel the city recognized there may have been a violation of Idaho’s Open Meeting Law and rescinded its action to terminate Chief Spain. “Thereafter the city posted notices of meetings to address the same issue previously placed before the City Council at the emergency meeting and ultimately decided to terminate Chief Spain from his position.

“It is my determination these subsequent meetings were properly conducted pursuant to Idaho’s Open Meeting Law.”

Bujak’s written opinion went on to say, “Idaho Code 67-2347 indicates when it is appropriate to impose a penalty for violations of Idaho Open Meeting law. The statute provides that in the event a governing body violates the law but thereafter rescinds its action and cures the violation, the cure acts as a bar to the imposition of the penalty.

“In this case I conclude that the city, by rescinding its actions during an emergency meeting and thereafter properly conducting business pursuant to law cured any violation of the law.

“Accordingly, it’s my determination that the imposition of a penalty is not warranted or appropriate pursuant to law. I will not be taking any further action regarding this matter and consider the same to be closed at this time.”

Upon finishing the letter which concluded with Bujak’s thanks for being asked to assist with the administration of justice McKinney commented, “So that’s where it stands now and it’s put to sleep. It’s over with.”


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