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“When the Public Process is Done Appropriately, the Decision Made by the Governing Body will more likely be in the Public Interest.” Eugene Carl Haberman

Due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, many local governments have changed the procedures with how their meetings are conducted. Teleconferencing, Zoom, and other forms of technology are being used now in various ways.

Eugene Carl Haberman, an expert on the Open Meetings Law and Public Process, has been attending and speaking up at local (and State and Federal) meetings in Southcentral Alaska for decades. He is well known for prefacing his remarks during the public comment periods with this quote: “When the Public Process is Done Appropriately, the Decision Made by the Governing Body will more likely be in the Public Interest.”

Mr. Haberman sent this letter to local government officials the other day – April 7, 2020 – outlining his concerns with the new meeting procedures.

One Comment

  1. Lance Wilson Lance Wilson April 10, 2020

    Mr. Haberman means well and is usually right, but his opinions should not be taken as the absolute unquestionable truth. The current Covid -19 situation is not a usual occurrence, but life must go on and special provisions must be made to promote public health and welfare and allow government at all levels to continue to function and serve the people. Adequately noticed public meetings conducted telephonically and/or by videoconference are permitted and in no way violate State statutes. In fact, AS 44.62.310 (a) specifically states, “Attendance and participation at meetings by members of the public or by members of a governmental body may be by teleconferencing.” I expect that once this emergency passes, government meetings will once again return to be conducted live in-person and fully open to the public, but until then, reasonable accomodation should be practiced by everyone.

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