Loose Ends: Thankful for sunshine

MEEKER | There ought to be a law. Ever hear someone mutter that phrase when they are frustrated or angry? Lately it might have been used in regards to recent decisions and actions taken by the County Commissioners.

There are a couple of legislative mandates addressing the lack of openness when local governing bodies make decisions. Colorado’s Sunshine Laws are designed to ensure that the actions taken have followed the decisions that have been made at a regularly scheduled board meeting. All board business is conducted at a public meeting, unless it is a personnel matter that requires an executive session with the decision to keep it open made by the employee or staff member being discussed.

This state mandated legislation is so important to all of us. Years ago, “bidness” as the good ole boys put it, was often carried out in a variety of places throughout the community before it was finalized in a board meeting. This made it difficult for a reporter. I often returned from meetings without the information I needed to let the community know what decisions had been made. It was frustrating to me, the editor, as well as the public who counted on the newspaper to keep them up to date on the County’s business and how the Commissioner’s decisions would affect their daily lives.

Living in northwest Colorado enables us to have a lot of sunshine. The number of days each year has been documented by many experts. It seems that most of us are grateful, but unable to feel the same way about the changing political weather. We should not take these light-filled days for granted.

If state-mandated laws have been ignored or misinterpreted, we need to stay vigilant. They were enacted to keep the public informed. The importance of local government conducting open meetings has to continue to be recognized by everyone in the community.

We just cannot revert to shrugging our shoulders and dismissing the need for all of us to get involved. So many of us seem to take notice only when something of personal interest is to be discussed

That just will not be enough.

Yes, there are plenty of times when we can mutter, “That ought to be a law.” but this isn’t one of them. The Sunshine Laws will continue to provide the protection we all need. Come on, open the blinds and let the streaming rays of light in. Let’s take advantage of all this sunshine that comes out after gloomy weather.

By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times