CONVERSATION WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, CELL PHONE USE

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Nydia Tisdale
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Stefan Ritter: The Chair might prevent it.

Post by Nydia Tisdale » February 24th, 2011, 9:55 am

Stefan Ritter wrote:Phone calls and messages on a publicly owned device are open. That is true regardless of the nature of the communication: they are all open (short of an ORA [Open Records Act] exception, of course).

During a public meeting officials should, in my view, refrain from conducting any personal business or activity on their personally owned electronic devices. Doing so raises the suspicion that their communications were related to the public business at hand, as well as suggesting that they were not fulfilling their public role when engaging in the private communication.

Finally, let me note as to phone calls specifically, the fact that the audience could not hear a commissioner’s personal phone conversation is not, in my view, a violation of the Open Meetings Act. Such calls are not a good practice; the chair might prevent it.

STEFAN RITTER
Senior Assistant Attorney General
The Chairman cannot control his Board.

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