Representative Cleveland Calls Out Tourism Department for Violating Open Meeting Law
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Bobby Cleveland today promised to further investigate state agencies after the Tourism & Recreation Department’s Executive Director Dick Dutton may have misrepresented an internal auditor’s firing.
During a recent meeting for the House Special Investigative Committee, Cleveland asked Dutton who gave the executive director permission to terminate the auditor. Dutton told the committee Tourism & Recreation Commissioners gave Dutton permission during a board meeting’s executive session in April 2017. Minutes from the meeting, however, show “no action” was taken during executive session.
“The public has a right to know what’s going on in our state agencies,” said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “Tourism & Recreation can’t be the only agency violating the spirit of the laws that are designed to keep Oklahomans informed.”
Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act requires public bodies such as the Tourism Commission to identify the items of business and purposes of executive sessions as well as any general business to be transacted in the meeting. Violations of the Open Meetings Act are considered a misdemeanor and are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.
Cleveland has received complaints that meeting notices are vague, delayed and misleading. He said he intends to hold Tourism Commissioners accountable and plans to check to ensure future meeting notices are timely, accurate and transparent.
“These boards, commissioners and executive directors are skirting the Open Records & Open Meetings Acts. We’ve seen gross mismanagement in multiple state agencies in recent months, and this latest revelation is yet another example of why so many Oklahomans don’t trust their government,” Cleveland said.