I’ve read several accounts recently regarding Pulaski Fiscal Court’s reasoning for the size and makeup of its budget committee, all of which seem to agree it’s held to a smaller size in order to avoid the state’s open meeting requirements or “Sunshine Law”.
Not taking sides in which magistrates are right or wrong in the makeup of the annual budget numbers, but shouldn’t it be incumbent on all our magistrates to conduct the people’s business in an open, transparent manner? That’s the very basis of the Sunshine Law.
It’s my understanding of the Sunshine Law that ALL meetings of ANY committee working on behalf of fiscal court must be open to the public. In reality, even if the committee has no magistrates in its makeup, it’s still a public body and must abide by the same rules and transparency as the full court. The actual definition of a public agency from KRS 61.870 reads, in part, “Any board, commission, committee, subcommittee, ad hoc committee, advisory committee, council, or agency…”
I’m disappointed our elected officials seem content to skirt the intentions of our open meetings laws or even the spirit of the legislation. Hopefully, they’ll look for ways to add “Sunshine” to the governing process in the future, rather than hammer out deals behind closed doors.