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home : news : local news October 22, 2017

10/4/2017 11:39:00 AM
City violated Open Door Law
By Kevin Thompkins

The City of Noblesville violated the state's Open Door Law in February when it conducted an executive session to discuss the Nickel Plate Trail.

Indiana's Public Access Counselor, acting on a complaint filed by Michael Saner, an individual associated with Save the Nickel Plate, issued an opinion Oct. 2. In it, the counselor found the city's reason for conducting the executive session did not meet the requirements set out by Indiana Law, and the city did not provide adequate notification the meeting was to take place.

The city conceded it did not provide adequate notification. State law permits some public business to be conducted in private, however notification of an executive session must be made 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

In addition, the law only permits executive sessions to be conducted under certain circumstances.

The city claimed the February meeting met the executive session criteria of "Interviews and negotiations with industrial or commercial prospects or agents of industrial or commercial prospects by a governing body of a political subdivision."

Apparently the city did not conduct interviews or negotiations with prospects or agents.

"The City claims at the time of this executive session its officers believed that discussions of a general economic development nature were a permissible use of executive sessions," according the opinion.

The counselor's office found the "plain language of that subsection, however, expressly requires interviews and negotiations with industrial or commercial prospects or agents."

"It is difficult to understand how the City could interpret or believe that language to include general economic development discussions among itself," the opinion reads.

A statement released by the city Tuesday said the issue was a miscommunication.

"The issue was the result of some miscommunication and procedures were changed in the spring to ensure that the city fully complies with a strict interpretation of public access law."

No legal action will be taken against the city.

The Indiana Public Access Counselor is the state official responsible for providing advice and assistance concerning Indiana's public access laws, specifically the Access to Public Records Act and the Open Door Law, to members of the public and government officials and empl

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Article comment by: Deborah Van Ness

I have said since the first day the story broke this was a done deal behind closed doors. Noblesville and Fishers mayors are both guilty.

Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Article comment by: Rob Kunkle

It is becoming more obvious as time goes on that the counsel has an agenda and the wishes of the people are of little concern to them. a decision on the trail should be postponed until after the next election. Then if the people decide new faces are needed that can be accomplished.

Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Article comment by: Logan Day

This whole ordeal with the Nickel Plate Trail continues to be such a sad state of affairs! Hamilton County governments have crafted this trail proposal behind closed doors, without public input, and have misinformed the public the entire way. This IS NOT what the majority of residents want. It's time for a change of administration to remove this locus of power from the hands of a few.

Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Article comment by: Christine DeJoy

Nothing surprises me anymore with the current administration. "Miscommunication?" I highly doubt that. Unless to them miscommunication means deliberate...

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