Maryland open meetings course made available for public

May 23, 2012|By Andy Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

The state has added a new tool to help members of the public navigate the rules governing open meetings of public bodies in Maryland.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's office on Wednesday announced the creation of a 2.5-hour(!) course on Maryland's Open Meetings Act. It's "designed for elected officials, public employees, members of the media and any Marylander interested in open government who wishes to become more familiar with the requirements of the Act," according to a news release. The project was created in concert with the University of Maryland's Institute for Governmental Service and Research.

One of the major concepts covered in the course is the discussion of when a proceeding can be closed to the public. The law has exceptions for discussions of certain administrative and legal issues, but members of the public can challenge boards who shut them out. In some cases, such challenges have led to government actions being reversed.

Here's a report on some recent rulings by the state's Open Meetings Compliance Board.

People who complete the six-section, 10-quiz course will get a certificate of completion. I plan to do so over the next few days and will report back about what I find out. Let us know if you have any thoughts about it.

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