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POTENTIAL LITIGATION STOPS DISCUSSION 9-28-16 LMS

An item listed on the Salmon City Council’s September 28 agenda had to be removed from the meeting after City Attorney Fred Snook told the council the city had just been threatened with a law suit.

The agenda item which was removed pertained to a discussion/decision on approval of an amended renewal agreement between the Salmon Whitewater Park Association (SWPA) and the city.

Long-time opponent to any city involvement in the whitewater park, Evalyn Bennett, made an Open Meeting Law violation allegation against city council members during the first public comment opportunity of the September 28 meeting. She cited an instance she believed to be lack of specificity which took place during the council’s September 7 meeting. She also cited two procedural errors related to motions not specifically listed on the agenda and which in her opinion were violations of the law.

In addition she insisted Councilman Russ Chinske recuse himself from voting on anything involving the park because he was once a member of the association.

Bennett stated “Unless this governing body follows steps to ‘cure’ the violation, Idaho’s Open Meeting Law describes $250-$1,500 civil penalties that apply to each person who participated in the violation.” Reading from a written statement Bennett went on to say, “My public comments serve as verbal and written notice to the council that I believe they violated the Open Meeting Law. If the council does not cure the violation tonight, citizens are prepared to file a complaint with the County Prosecuting Attorney.”

When it came time for the Whitewater agenda item Snook stepped in and commented that since the council had been threatened with a law suit approximately 20 minutes ago and there had been no time to assess the situation, his advice was to table the Whitewater Amendment topic until such time as it can be resolved. Snook informed the council he is not going to be available for the October 5 regularly scheduled meeting so Council President Jim Baker made a motion to table the SWPA agreement topic until the October 19 Salmon City Council meeting.

The motion was passed unanimously on a roll call vote.


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