Briefs: State agency rules Newport violated open meetings law

  • Updated: June 28, 2014 - 2:00 PM

The Newport City Council violated the state’s open meeting law by failing to “provide a summary of conclusions” of City Administrator Deb Hill’s job evaluation from a closed session meeting, a state oversight agency has ruled.

The ruling by the Information Policy Analysis Division (IPAD) — an office of the state Department of Administration — was announced on June 18, more than a month after the agency received an “advisory opinion request” from Pauline Schottmuller, officials said.

Schottmuller, a former council member, argued that after reviewing Hill’s performance at a closed session on May 6, the council had failed to adequately disclose a summary at a subsequent meeting, as required under state law.

In a letter to the agency, the city’s attorney, Frederic Knaak, said that the council hadn’t reached any “conclusions” and therefore shouldn’t be expected to produce a summary of the evaluation.

“The Newport City Council did not comply with Minnesota Statutes, section 13D.05, subdivision 3(a), when it failed to provide a summary of conclusions of the city administrator’s performance evaluation conducted at a closed meeting on March 6, 2014, at its next open meeting,” the agency wrote.

Washington County

County jail will house more state prisoners

The Washington County Board last week amended an agreement the county made with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, a move that will increase the number of state prisoners housed in the county jail.

Because of prison population increases, the state needs additional secured housing, Sheriff Bill Hutton told the County Board. The change in the agreement raises the contract for housing to $310,000, with the amendment adding $70,000 to the rest of 2014.

Cottage Grove

County library branch receives federal grant

A state grant will pay for enhancements to the play and learning areas in the Park Grove branch of the Washington County Library. The $4,500 federal Library Services and Technology Act grant was made through the Minnesota Department of Education, State Library Services.

The library applied for the money to buy interactive items that support basic early literacy skills and the “Every Child Ready to Read” initiative to prepare children for reading. Librarians will use the items in the Park Grove branch library’s children’s area for open play and learning with children and their parents.

Oak Park Heights

Amateur radio operators to show off their skills

Area amateur radio operators (hams) are demonstrating communications skills this weekend at Autumn Hills Park, 5701 Norwich Parkway, Oak Park Heights. Field Day is an annual event held at more than 2,500 locations and involves 35,000 radio operators in the United States and Canada.

Portable field stations will demonstrate the newest digital communications systems, including satellite capabilities and voice communications. The use of Morse code will be featured as well.

The event is sponsored by the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association (SARA) and will be open to the public Sunday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Information about becoming a ham will be available, including workshops for newly licensed operators and how they can assist communities with weather spotting and emergency communications.

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