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Open government is best

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Controversy erupted not long ago concerning the proper format by a city council to hold an executive session, reminding us the people’s business is best conducted in the open.

Elected representatives must be held accountable. The only way to accomplish this is to follow the law by deliberating government business in a public forum.

There are rules laid down by statute for holding executive sessions, of which all Texas councils must follow.

Discussions can involve contract negotiations, personnel matters, security, donations and real estate. School boards can also air student-discipline cases.

However, the state’s open-meeting laws do not allow votes or official actions during executive sessions.

A certified agenda or recording must be kept, but is only made public with a court order. However, officials are not prohibited from making public statements about the executive session.

Most local leaders run for office because they want to serve their communities. While the majority aren’t legal scholars, all would do well to remember open government is the law of the land and familiarize themselves with the rules.

The LOCAL Community News editorial board includes Jaselle Luna and Thomas Edwards.

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