Sunshine Act Keeps Doors Open

While Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law gives residents the chance to keep tabs on their government through access to records, a related law lets them see decision-making bodies in action.

The state Sunshine Act requires public boards and councils to discuss business and make decisions in public.

The laws work in conjunction to give people access to their governments. A resident may request a document they know exists because it was approved or discussed at a public meeting.

But there are sometimes disagreements over when one law or the other applies.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=518857

Scranton School Board Votes Raise Transparency Issues

Editor’s note:  Did Mr. Hylton move to Scranton?

Members of the Scranton School Board deciding via telephone to remove the tentative budget from the public agenda “raises significant issues” with transparency, a legal expert said Thursday.

Other action taken by the board Tuesday, including voting for more than $130,000 in project change orders after work was done, and the approval of work by the district engineer after it was completed, also should concern the public, said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

The board was expected to approve the 2013 tentative budget on Tuesday, but as Kathleen McGuigan, chairwoman of the budget and finance committee, started to read the motion, board President Bob Lesh stopped her. Mr. Lesh said he called directors and a majority agreed to remove the budget from the agenda. The tentative budget must be posted for 30 days of public review, and the final budget must be passed by the end of the year.

While the phone calls by Mr. Lesh may not be a violation of the Sunshine Act – the state’s open meetings law – it “raises significant issues,” Ms. Melewsky said.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-school-board-votes-raise-transparency-issues-1.1404219