WV high court gets it wrong in public-meetings case

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The public’s right to know what their government representatives are up to suffered a setback this month from a ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Essentially, a majority of the court concluded that requirements in the state’s open meetings act, called the Open Government Proceedings Act, should play second fiddle to another state law known as the Emergency Ambulance Service Act of 1975.

The upshot, in the court’s majority view, is that it was acceptable for the Hardy County Commission to approve the spending of $1.1 million of public money to purchase a building and enact a special ambulance fee on the county’s citizens at a session that did not comply with the open meetings act.

Two justices dissented with that viewpoint, and their opinions are far more in line with the concept of open government than the majority opinion written by Justice Menis Ketchum…

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