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Bent County Meetings are Public

(Las Animas, CO) -- There's been some confusion that lately is starting to clear up a bit.

County meetings for Bent County commissioners, regular meetings, work sessions and even executive session agendas are posted ahead of the meetings.

While the Colorado Sunshine law states that meetings that are done in public by public officials be open to the public, executive sessions are a bit different. According to a post by the Colorado Legislature's Open Meetings Law - State Public Body -in the frequently asked question section it states that:

The OML allows for a state public body to go into executive session under certain statutorily prescribed circumstances.18 If, in the judgment of the state public body, public disclosure of certain matters or negotiations in an open meeting is likely to stifle honest and frank discussion, it may consider whether any of those matters or negotiations are permitted by the OML to be discussed in an executive session. This allows for a discussion by members of the state public body that is closed to the public if the topic of the contemplated discussion is one permitted to be discussed in executive session by the OML. Topics that are the most likely potential reasons for a state public body to go into an executive session are:  The purchase or sale of property for public purposes;  Conferences with an attorney representing the state public body concerning disputes involving the public body, concerning specific claims or grievances, or for purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions; and  Matters required to be kept confidential in accordance with any federal or state law, or other joint rule of the house and senate.

Some background on the Colorado Open Meetings Law:

Part 4 of article 6 of title 24, C.R.S., is commonly known as the Open Meetings Law ("OML"). The law originated in a citizen initiative known as the "Colorado Sunshine Act of 1972". Though amended over the years, its purpose has remained constant— "that the formation of public policy is public business and may not be conducted in secret."2 It is "clearly intended to afford the public access to a broad range of meetings at which public business is considered".3 And Colorado Courts interpret it broadly "in order to further the legislature's intent to give citizens a greater opportunity to meaningfully participate in the decision-making process by becoming fully informed on issues of public importance."4

So, what is an open meeting?

It's basically, anytime your elected public officials get together to talk about any business that has to do with public policy proposition, an specific proposals or anything the governing body is set to discuss. This can be by phone, by email, text or other means of communications.

On Tuesday, January 24th at 9am the Bent County Commissioners will hold a work session, which is open to the public to discuss the following: