City council admits illegally voting via email

From AP/Lewiston Tribune

GENESEE, Idaho (AP) — City officials in northern Idaho say they voted illegally four times over the past year.

The Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/1D7STfk) reports that the Genesee city councilors acknowledged their actions during a special March 26 meeting. The four-member panel then voided its most recent email vote, which involved a lease agreement with the Latah County Library District.

Councilor Art Lindquist says City Attorney Erin Tomlin alerted the panel that they violated Idaho’s open meeting law after hearing members discuss the email vote in a prior meeting.

Lindquist added that the council decided to use email after being unable to meet the quorum requirement for a regular meeting.

Along with the vote regarding the lease, two of the email votes were to approve bills and one was to accept an employee’s resignation.

While the council was able to void one of the illegal votes, the three others no longer fall under the 30-day cure period Idaho allows for citizens and officials to question the legality of a vote —even though the vote was never posted or made public until the March 26 meeting.

City councilors were given training in open-meeting laws, Tomlin said. However, the portion of training on conducting city business over email didn’t include voting.

As a result, city council approved organizing an open-meeting law training session for city staffers and elected officials in the near future.

“We had no intention of having any wrongdoing,” Mayor Steve Odenborg said.

Documents provided through a public-record request from the Lewiston Tribune show that votes via email happened four times during the past five years.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

From AP/Lewiston Tribune

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