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By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2013
The state university system's Board of Regents violated Maryland's open meetings law when it met in closed session to discuss the University of Maryland's move to the Big Ten Conference, according to a ruling released Tuesday by a state review panel. The regents failed to give required public notice and failed to follow proper procedure in closing their Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 meetings, according to the written opinion issued by the three-member Open Meetings Compliance Board. The opinion also says that "at least some part of the Board's discussion should almost certainly have been conducted in open session" and deems inadequate the written summaries of the meetings posted on the university system's website.
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NEWS
By Scott Calvert, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2013
A lawyer for Baltimore City says a task force appointed by the mayor to study the city's speed camera program did not hold an illegal closed-door meeting during a March visit to a contractor's headquarters. But a prominent member of the task force called the city's version of events "not true. " Assistant City Solicitor Hilary Ruley told state officials this week that a presentation to the task force was stopped once members realized the public had been barred from attending by Brekford Corp., the city's new camera vendor.
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NEWS
By Mark Fleming | October 27, 1991
Christmas is a time for secrets.Shaking the colorfully wrapped presents under the tree is as much a tradition in my family as hangingstockings from the mantel to be filled with nuts and raisins and tennis wristbands.Christmas is a season of warmth, a time for giving those presentsand paying heed to the wants and needs of others.It is a time when most of us trim the family tree and festoon our homes and streets with colored lights and waving plastic Santas and eight tiny reindeer. Or display Christian scenes that depict a humble manger in Bethlehem.
NEWS
By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun | April 13, 2013
New laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly late last week would put stricter penalties and an element of public shaming behind the state's open-meetings laws. State lawmakers said public officials have been able to flout the rules without significant consequences. "It has no enforcement whatsoever," said Del. Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat who sponsored the bill to toughen open-meetings laws. "This is the first bill that actually creates some enforcement. " Maryland's public officials are barred from conducting public business behind closed doors, but the penalties for doing so in the past have been a rarely levied fine and a written notice that Morhaim said was often ignored.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF | March 13, 2005
Allen Dyer ran into a legal brick wall when he went to court to try to get the Howard County Board of Education to conduct more of the public's business in public. A county Circuit Court judge threw out his lawsuit, saying he didn't have legal standing to sue the school system. But the Ellicott City man's four-year crusade for more openness in government scored a victory in Annapolis this year, when the General Assembly overrode Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto to enact legislation spelling out that every citizen has a right to go to court to enforce Maryland's open-meetings law. Such is the state of affairs on the front lines of open government these days.
NEWS
May 8, 1993
Baltimore County citizens have been treated to the spectacle of a public official empowered to apply state and local zoning laws proclaiming it would be "a horrible injustice" to obey the law himself.William T. Hackett, chairman of the county Board of Appeals, sees nothing strange there. He says the Baltimore County solicitor told him he need not obey the state open meetings law, but they won't share the legal basis with the public. That's illegal too: the state law requires a public agency to vote in the open to close a meeting and to disclose in writing its reasons.
NEWS
February 21, 1991
Drug program at riskThe state's worsening fiscal condition has imperiled a planned expansion of a program that provides residential treatment for drug- and alcohol-dependent adolescents.Gov. William Donald Schaefer and fellow members of the Board of Public Works declined yesterday to approve a $6.4 million, 28-month contract that would have paid for 32 beds at treatment centers throughout the state.The state program, which currently supports 20 beds, was recommended for expansion by the governor's drug and alcohol abuse commission.
NEWS
By John A. Morris and John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer | June 2, 1995
A late-night conference call Wednesday among County Council members to patch up budget problems may have violated the state open meetings law.During the call, the seven members and their auditor discussed changes -- which they adopted in a perfunctory public session yesterday -- to the county's $950 million spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.Several council members said the conference call was unavoidable as the council and aides to...
NEWS
December 2, 1990
When the Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee gathers Tuesday, it ought to endorse a measure to close loopholes in the state's open meetings law and make it harder for officials to shut the door on the public. Anything less would deny Maryland's citizens their fundamental right to know what is going on in government.Yet representatives of local governments and members of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's staff have strenuously resisted these changes and have tried to kill efforts to give newspapers and citizens greater access to meetings of public bodies.
NEWS
By John W. Frece and John W. Frece,Annapolis Bureau of The Sun | April 4, 1991
ANNAPOLIS -- A House committee last night fine-tuned and then unanimously approved a Senate bill intended to strengthen Maryland's open meetings law.The Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee's version of the bill differs from the Senate bill in mostly minor or technical ways.The most substantive changes involve an expansion of the definition of which "public bodies" are covered by the open meetings law, and a modification to the bill's original broad authority permitting meetings to be videotaped, televised or otherwise broadcast.
NEWS
By Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun | February 26, 2013
The state university system's Board of Regents violated Maryland's open meetings law when it met in closed session to discuss the University of Maryland's move to the Big Ten Conference, according to a ruling released Tuesday by a state review panel. The regents failed to give required public notice and failed to follow proper procedure in closing their Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 meetings, according to the written opinion issued by the three-member Open Meetings Compliance Board. The opinion also says that "at least some part of the Board's discussion should almost certainly have been conducted in open session" and deems inadequate the written summaries of the meetings posted on the university system's website.
NEWS
December 13, 2012
Isn't it odd that people will give credence to people with absolutely no credentials but talk as if they did? First there was that guy at the city school system who was given a contract with no defined duties ("Schools employee charged with sex with teen," Nov. 29). Then there was the blogger full of fantasy and hot air who police were afraid of ("Blogger surrenders to police after standoff in Waverly," Dec. 2). The guy in the schools makes you wonder what goes on down at North Avenue.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun | November 26, 2012
A former Baltimore County teacher filed a complaint with a state board Monday, alleging that the University System of Maryland Board of Regents violated the state open meetings law when it voted in closed session on the University of Maryland's move to the Big Ten athletic conference. "I think it's a disgrace that no one has complained about this," said Ralph Jaffe, who taught political science in the county public schools and has run for U.S. Senate and governor in recent years. Jaffe, who lives in Pikesville, sent a letter to the Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board on Monday saying that the Board of Regents illegally met last week to approve the university's move, which ended six decades of membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF | March 13, 2005
Allen Dyer ran into a legal brick wall when he went to court to try to get the Howard County Board of Education to conduct more of the public's business in public. A county Circuit Court judge threw out his lawsuit, saying he didn't have legal standing to sue the school system. But the Ellicott City man's four-year crusade for more openness in government scored a victory in Annapolis this year, when the General Assembly overrode Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto to enact legislation spelling out that every citizen has a right to go to court to enforce Maryland's open-meetings law. Such is the state of affairs on the front lines of open government these days.
NEWS
By Hanah Cho and Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF | January 13, 2005
An Ellicott City lawyer said yesterday that he will ask the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to consider the state's revised open-meetings law in determining whether he can sue the Howard County Board of Education for allegedly meeting in secret. The latest development in Allen Dyer's four-year legal challenge comes after the General Assembly overrode Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of an open-meetings bill on Tuesday - effective immediately. The Maryland Open Meetings Act now allows anyone to sue a public body for alleged violations of the law. Dyer's suit prompted state lawmakers to seek clarification last spring of the open-meetings law after a Howard Circuit Court ruling in 2003 stated that only a person "adversely affected" by an alleged violation could take a public body to court - as called for in the law's previous language.
NEWS
By Tricia Bishop and Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF | August 29, 2003
An Ellicott City parent has added another complaint to her lawsuit against the Howard County Board of Education alleging violations of the state's Open Meetings Act, claiming that its closed meeting July 17 to discuss a proposed process to evaluate the school superintendent was another evasion of the law. The lawsuit was amended just hours before last night's school board meeting, at which the members voted to adopt the new evaluation process. "The discussions on the procedures for evaluating the superintendent is clear policy, and policy is not supposed to be discussed in closed session," said Allen Dyer, the lawyer for parent Melody Higgins, who filed the lawsuit against the board this month in Howard County Circuit Court.
NEWS
November 3, 1991
Union Bridge is a picturesque Carroll County town of 966 residents. Much of its history was tied to the Western Maryland Railroad, which is remembered in a museum housed in a 1902 Victorian structure on North Main Street.This quiet hamlet is unexpectedly in the news because the Maryland attorney general's office has ruled that the town council's recent $7,857 purchase of Christmas lights was not in compliance with state law.Is the state acting as an early Ebenezer Scrooge?Not at all. Union Bridge can buy all the Christmas lights it wants but town council meetings must be announced to the public or the media in advance.
NEWS
By Daniel P. Clemens Jr. and Daniel P. Clemens Jr.,Staff writer | July 24, 1991
The talk centered on sunshine in this Eastern Shore resort town Monday -- but it had nothing to do with getting a tan.Instead, municipal officials from across the state were steeped in discussion on recent revisions to the so-called sunshine laws, which dictate when government bodies in Maryland can meet behind closed doors."
NEWS
By Sara Neufeld and Tricia Bishop and Sara Neufeld and Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF | August 27, 2003
Open-meeting activists continue to worry that a Howard County judge's recent ruling will erode the public's rights, despite a finding in their favor Monday in a Baltimore County case. The Howard ruling is "scary" and could limit the public's ability to carry out a legal challenge when a meeting is closed, said Tom Marquardt, chairman of the regional press association's Freedom of Information Subcommittee. "It says unless you have something personally at stake, you don't have standing," said Marquardt, executive editor of The Capital in Annapolis.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF | June 29, 2003
Members of an environmental group say that Anne Arundel County officials broke state law when they convened a meeting to discuss the future of Franklin Point beach in a van and prohibited a radio reporter from recording another meeting. Amanda Spake, president of South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development, said Friday that she e-mailed a letter of complaint to Assistant Attorney General Jack Schwartz, counsel to the state's Open Meetings Compliance Board, on Wednesday. Schwartz, who confirmed receipt of the e-mail, said that county officials have 30 days to respond.
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