Bountiful City Attorney Russell Mahan was totally justified in saying the council could vote in such a circumstance.
“If you look at the open meetings law, it is subject driven, not action driven” in its intent, Mahan told the Clipper. “If a subject is on the agenda, action can be taken. What I’m saying is consistent with the language in the state law.”
In the Utah Code 52-4-202, it said “a public notice that is required to include an agenda (under Subsection 1) shall provide reasonable specificity to notify the public as to topics to be considered at the meeting. Each topic shall be listed under an agenda item on the meeting agenda.”
The code says further, that except in emergency meetings, which the Oct. 10 council meeting was not, “A public body may not take final action on a topic in an open meeting unless the topic is listed under an agenda item.”
Mahan cited cases in Centerville and Farmington to substantiate his point to the Clipper. However, the same standards apply to all cities in the state.
For example, in Farmington, a July 16 city council agenda listed public hearings for a zone change and schematic plan and preliminary master plan, both for Chestnut Farms Planned Unit Development. The council was within the law to take action under the law.
In Bountiful’s Oct. 10 council meeting, the council passed a motion, 4-1. The motion was to stop construction on a new city hall and authorize a study of the existing city hall. That’s to determine what modifications may be needed, and costs, to complete that work.
The Clipper regrets the error which was contained in a quote in the Oct. 10 article. It said “Utah open meeting laws which apply to cities such as Bountiful are understood to say a vote by the council must be listed on the agenda as a vote.”
Mahan did not give any such information to the Clipper. The Clipper was unjustified in publishing such erroneous information.
Mahan is a well-respected city attorney among his peers and has served Bountiful for many years.