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Transparency, open meetings

Transparency and the Minnesota Open Meeting Law. Those two topics came up at Tuesday’s McLeod County Board meeting, and we’re glad they did.
New Commissioner Doug Krueger raised some questions regarding the county’s recent extension of its recycling contract, citing two concerns: first, that as new commissioner, he doesn’t feel well versed on the topic and, second, that transparency in county government is important to him.
Second, in view of the fact that the County Board has two rookie commissioners who began their terms Jan. 1, McLeod County Attorney Mike Junge brought forward handbooks regarding the Minnesota Open Meeting Law, which he reviewed with the entire board.
We have always strongly held that the best government is open government, subject to the watchful eye of the media and, more importantly, the watchful eye of constituents.
Open government encourages participation from citizenry, and the more interaction between a governing body and its constituency there is, the better it is for everyone.
We were heartened that even the seasoned veterans of the County Board had questions about the Open Meeting Law. While we are sure they are well versed in the law, a little reminder never hurts. It helps bring focus back to what is important.
The booklet provided by Junge was drafted and adopted by the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and is very well crafted explanation of the law, and how it applies to not just county boards, but to all units of government.
We hope it is a document that our local officials keep close at hand and consult often, because we cannot stress it enough — open government is the best government.