Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

April 23, 2014

NMC could adopt OMA, FOIA training

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College trustees could soon receive a crash-course in open government laws.

NMC board Chair Doug Bishop on Monday said the community college’s trustees did not violate the state’s Open Meetings Act when they exchanged a series of non-public emails in late January, but he recommended they institute a “periodic refresher session” about OMA and freedom of information laws and consider opening the training sessions to other local public boards.

Last week, Bishop said trustees understand those laws and that members receive a handbook about the government transparency laws, though they do not undergo any formal training.

“We could even offer it on the Internet,” Bishop said during Monday’s NMC board meeting.

NMC attorney Charles Judson agreed with the training recommendation.

“The first program could be scheduled within the next few months, in my opinion,” he said.

Judson also suggested college officials draft and approve a policy that requires adherence to OMA and FOIA, and establishes guidelines for trustees’ email communications and retention of records.

NMC trustees unanimously referred Judson’s recommendations to the board’s policy sub-committee.



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