Recently the Saratoga Airport Board held a “regular” meeting at a non-publicly announced time.
The board’s regularly scheduled meeting is supposed to be held 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at Saratoga town hall.
The last meeting was held four hours later than was normal with no advance notice given to this newspaper.
So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that any actions taken at an unannounced meeting may be, by Wyoming law, null and void.
At its last meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve a transfer of the Fixed Base Operator lease.
What this means is that anyone could challenge the transfer or even the authority of the new operator to make decisions at any future date—based on the grounds that proper notice of meeting was not given.
What can be done to correct this? It would be a prudent idea to hold said vote again during a regularly scheduled meeting. That way there is no question as to the legality of the transfer.
To even hold a special meeting, a board is required to give eight hours notice to newspapers of general circulation and other media sources. Even then only the items listed in an agenda for the special meeting can be discussed at said meeting.
So what could have been legally done to move a board meeting back four hours? The board could have started its meeting at the regular time of 1 p.m. and then its members could have moved to recess the meeting until 5 p.m.
That would have been legal.
The reasons for these open meeting laws are to make sure anyone who wishes to attend a meeting can. They also allow members of the press to arrange their schedules to be present at meetings so we can report on decisions and events at those meetings.
It is not the Saratoga Sun’s intention to punish any particular body for an unintentional lapse or scheduling snafu. We only wish to make sure that the proceedings of public meetings are publicly announced, fairly chronicled and legally sound.