Is it coincidence, or are many local governments LESS open since the Open Meetings Commission?

Check out this from the Belle Fourche Post and Bee:
WHEREAS, the council has no intention of initiating a mass layoff; and
WHEREAS, there are policies in place to handle dismissal of employees and the council will follow said policies; and
WHEREAS, whoever resorted to starting these rumors seems to have a political motive, and should be cautioned to stop; and
WHEREAS, there have been divisions of the council before, bitter divisions, and the City Employees were not dragged into it but continued to perform their jobs without taking sides with either faction; and
WHEREAS, if the employees will help identify the person or persons spreading these rumors, the council will take any action possible to put a stop to such harmful behavior.
THEREFORE, if a Council Member, or the Mayor, or a City Employee is the one spreading harmful rumors, that would be cause for disciplinary action.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that overall, the council believes that all City Employees are performing their jobs and will only consider disciplinary action in accordance with proper procedures.
Now I think I've seen it all. The Belle Fourche City Council has placed a goofy "rumor gag order" on employees and officials to stop them from rumor-mongering. Next thing you know, they're going to tell them they can only have one child, and they're only allowed to drink 1% milk.

Wasn't it a week or so ago where Deadwood did something similar in reference to knocking down a historical building?

I really don't think government is less open since the creation of the Open Meetings Commission. But it seems to have triggered a plague of muddle-headed thinking in local governments who are placing goofy orders left and right to keep quiet on things that might have the potential to embarass them.

But isn't that why the Attorney General created the open meetings commission in the first place? To let these guys know that government's business is supposed to be open to the public? And good, bad, or ugly, those little errors and things they don't like are supposed to be seen in the light of day? It's how we tell how good or bad our government is doing.

The Open Meetings Commission specifically was created without penalites because supposedly the embarassment of being hauled before it was going to be a sufficient deterrent. But some of these actions border on being shameless.

If these local government entities keep it up, they might just find the legislature putting some penalties in law. Because in some of these cases, it's hard to impose shame on towns who lack a conscience for the public who elected them.


Anonymous said…
This is not exclusive to local governments. The executive branch in South Dakota has a long history of keeping secrets.
Todd Epp said…
Amen, Brother PP. For more on open government in S.D., go to

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