Council To Comply With Meetings Act

SALISBURY – The new City Council voted this week to become more transparent to the citizens of Salisbury by moving a resolution to comply with the Maryland Open Meetings Act.

“There are some things that are worth fighting for but not worth fighting about and this resolution is one of them” Council President Terry Cohen said.

Cohen said that she first brought up this issue in 2008 and is very appreciative of the city council for wanting to move it forward and quickly.

According to the resolution the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board has stated, “The Act is aimed at any meeting in which public business is considered or transacted” in its compliance Opinion which includes closed meetings and work sessions of the Salisbury City Council.

In the Compliance Board Opinion, the board stated, “…it is the public body that is responsible for ensuring that minutes of its meetings are accurate and satisfy the requirements…In fact, minutes are not considered minutes of the body until such time as the body has had an opportunity to review and correct work of whoever prepared them and then formally approve the draft…This ultimate responsibility cannot be shifted elsewhere.”

Therefore, the Salisbury City Council commits to review and to formally approve in legislative session the minutes of its closed meetings and its open work sessions, in addition to doing so for its legislative sessions.

“It affords the opportunity for greater transparency to the public because many people do not know we have notes recording our work sessions,” Cohen said. “It will also increase the efficiency of the council by having a readily available reminder of what was previous.”

The resolution to commit to the review and formal approval of closed meeting and work session minutes in compliance with the Maryland Open Meetings Act was approved in a unanimous vote.