Q&A: Commissioner meeting for iPad tutorial

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From the Pulaski County Journal (Winamac):

Q: The three commissioners in Pulaski County met recently behind closed doors. They said the meeting was for an iPad tutorial. When I called them about it they invited me to attend the meeting, but no public notice of the meeting was made. I’m thinking this is not a violation, but what do you think?

Also, do the commissioners have to take a final action on purchasing iPads? There was discussion at several meetings, but a final vote was not taken. Should there have been a final vote since county money was used to buy equipment for elected officials? 

A: If they only received iPad training in the private session, then it didn’t fit the definition of a meeting under the Open Door Law because its purpose was not to take “official action upon public business.”

If it wasn’t a meeting, there was no need to give notice under the Open Door Law.

As to a final action on the purchase of iPads, they wouldn’t have to specifically vote on the purchase but could approve it through the payment of claims (bills).

The iPad invoice could be approved through a motion to approve a list of claims presented to them by the auditor. But an action one way or another should have been approved.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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