The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office has found that the Corbin Library Board violated open meetings laws by holding unscheduled meetings and meetings in which a quorum of members was present without proper public notice.
In the opinion released Monday in response to a written complaint filed by Brenda Huff, the AG explained that under the legal definition of a meeting provided in the Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS), all gatherings of every kind, regardless of where the meeting his held, whether it is a regular or informational meeting or casual gatherings of the type that occur regularly at the library are subject to open meeting laws.
“It is thus not necessary for action to be taken at a meeting to make that a public meeting; discussion of public business by a quorum of members invokes the application of the Open Meetings Act,” the AG wrote in the opinion.
Library staff had initially filed what they called a ‘whistleblower report,” regarding the board, stating they feared repercussions in November.
In the report, the staff alleged the board engaged in illegal meetings, including those that were held after the library had closed for business and that minutes for the meetings were not signed and available for the public to view.
Following discussions with the board’s attorney, Wes Tipton, the board declared that despite what may have occurred in the past, any future called meetings would be advertised at least 24 hours prior as required by law.
“From here on we will give notice,” Tipton said previously.
In addition, while the board may initially meet in one of the upstairs conference rooms of the library, if the meeting continues beyond closing, the board will move the meeting to the area near the front door so that the public may have access.
In a response to Huff’s complaint letter to the AG, the library board stated that since the meeting with Tipton, it has made every effort to ensure that this procedure is followed.
“It won’t happen again,” Tipton said of anyone unable to get into a meeting because of a locked door.
“While we do not question the intent or integrity of the Library Board, we caution them to be cognizant of the requirements of the Open Meetings Act going forward,” the AG wrote in the opinion.