LANCASTER — In a Feb. 21 ruling, the Kentucky Attorney General determined that Lancaster City Council violated the Open Meetings Act by entering into an executive session during its Jan. 14 meeting.
The ruling came as a result of a written complaint sent by The Garrard Central Record to the city following the Jan. 14 meeting, asking for the city to turn over recordings from the meeting. The city declined to do so, and the complaint was filed with the Attorney General’s Office.
Based on the attorney general’s ruling, the city violated the state Open Meetings Act because the negotiations were not ones that would be compromised by open discussion. Part of the reasoning is that the details of the contract had, by the council’s own admission, “been widely discussed and publicized.” The ruling also explains that the meeting’s discussion did not involve expansion and upgrades to the water association, which is a private entity, but instead, the terms needed to make the contract acceptable to the water association. Therefore, according to the attorney general, there was no need for an executive session.
The city is required to make public any recordings taken during the executive session, according to the ruling.
Lancaster Mayor Brenda Powers explained, via phone, that the meeting had been recorded because of concerns raised by the newspaper before the council went into executive session.
Beth Wesley, city attorney for Lancaster, said she is in the process of contacting the Kentucky League of Cities regarding the ruling.