Sunshine law ‘important’ for commissioners |

Sunshine law ‘important’ for commissioners

Tamara Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – It makes the county business more difficult, but helps to ensure county business is done right.But the question always comes up. Are the Eagle County Board of Commissioners abiding by the state’s open meeting laws, better known as sunshine law?The purpose of the law is to make sure discussions and decisions made by the county commissioners are always done publicly. The law does make some exemptions, such as when the discussion involves an employee problem or the commissioners are receiving legal advice.The law forbids a majority of the board from meeting without making sure the public knows first. It only takes two commissioners to make a majority, or a quorum, which is what is required for a board vote.That does make it difficult for commissioners to bounce ideas off each other, said Commissioner Peter Runyon. Still, he has never violated the law, he said. The best way to communicate with another commissioner about something is to do it through a county employee, said Commissioner Arn Menconi. He has done this when he’s wanted to discuss a particular topic during an upcoming meeting and wants to know if another commissioner wants to, too, Menconi said. Menconi also said he hasn’t violated sunshine laws.”It’s an important law,” he said. “Especially for three commissioners.”The only time Menconi said he has been concerned about that law being violated is when he was removed from a housing board by his colleagues, Commissioner Tom Stone and former Commissioner Michael Gallagher. Menconi is quick to point out that he doesn’t know if the fellow commissioners met without announcing a public meeting, but said he was “frustrated” that both commissioners agreed to vote on Menconi’s removal outside of a public meeting.”Maybe they both came up with the idea on their own at the same time,” he said. Stone denied that he discussed the issue with Gallagher outside of a public meeting.Vail, Colorado

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