State Compliance Board Investigating City Meeting Records

Highlighted in red are meetings of the Board of Supervisors of Elections for 2015 that are missing minutes.

Highlighted in red are meetings of the Board of Supervisors of Elections for 2015 that are missing minutes.

The Open Meetings Compliance Board of the State of Maryland is investigating Rockville’s Board of Supervisors of Elections (BOSE) for failing to maintain its meeting records in accordance with state law.  BOSE is a five-member body appointed by the mayor with the approval of the council and charged with the conduct of all City elections, the registration of voters and the keeping of records in connection with these functions. The state’s Open Meetings Act requires that all city boards and commissions provide either written minutes or a video recording of their meetings so that the public is aware of their actions and decisions.

Other city boards and commissions have had a spotty record over the past few years, but BOSE is exceptional. BOSE did not maintain records for nearly half of its meetings last year, with missing minutes stretching back to March 12, 2015 and no minutes available after October 21, which was the most intense and competitive period of the last Mayor and Council election.

BOSE has until mid-March to provide a written response to the Compliance Board, at which point they will render an opinion.  I’m not sure how BOSE will be able to review and approve so many minutes by the deadline, but even if they do, it suggests that the Supervisors of Elections need supervision as well. If you’re concerned, please let the Mayor and Council know at mayorcouncil@rockvillemd.gov.

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2 responses

  1. Is this related to the lawsuit filed against the Election Board by the candidate who lost but spent so much money? L

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  2. This investigation is in response to the complaint I filed with the Open Meetings Compliance Board because I value transparency in government. When a City Council isn’t willing or able to ensure that one of its boards and commissions operate in a way that the community is aware of its actions (or inactions), we’re fortunate that State law allows citizens to file a complaint with an independent agency. In its latest report, the Board received 24 complaints which ranged widely, from meeting at a location that was closed to the public to giving notice of a meeting by “an obscure means and failing to keep a copy” and included the University of Maryland, Montgomery County Board of Education, Montgomery County Board of Elections, and the City of Rockville. A summary list is available at https://www.oag.state.md.us/Opinions/Open2013/13index.htm.

    I was recently notified that the Open Meetings Compliance Board has approved a five-day extension to the deadline in response to the City of Rockville’s request for a thirty-day extension to “coordinate with and gather information from staff.” The City response is now due Friday, March 25, 2016.

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