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ASCOCC’s meeting minutes do not meet requirements

Kirsteen Wolf

The Broadside

The meeting minutes of the Associated Student of Central Oregon Community College are not up to the requirements of Oregon State law.

ASCOCC does not regularly post minutes from its meetings and those that are posted do not include information required by state law.

Minutes are important, according to Oregon Attorney General John Kroger because the “best way to hold government accountable is to make government records and public meetings accessible to the people,” as noted on the Department of Justice website.

According to Oregon Revised Statute 192.650, the written records of meeting held by governing bodies must be available to the public at a reasonable time after the meeting and must include particular information.

Also outlined in the manual is the time between when a meeting occurs and when minutes must be posted, which should generally not exceed three weeks.

Minutes to only 12 ASCOCC meetings for the past year are available through Central Oregon Community Colleges’s public folders, which students can access through their Outlook account.

According to the ASCOCC website “weekly meeting minutes can be found in the student
public folders.”

Anthony Forrer took the minutes last year but did not respond to email requests for information.

Patty Stell at the Bend City Manager’s office is in charge of making sure minutes are taken during the Bend City Council meetings. Stell has taken many minutes at public meetings and knows the laws and regulations well.

“It’s important,” said Stell, “Somebody has to be there as a scribe to set the record straight.”

ASCOCC members have not been trained or briefed on state law requirements for minutes, said Brenda Pierce, marketing and advertising coordinator for ASCOCC.

“We have not gotten guidance on ORS statutes before in regards to taking minutes,” she said.
COCC student government does have an advisor, who is a college employee.

From Sept. 2, 2009 to the present, there are no minutes of any ASCOCC meetings that meet state requirements. According to the Oregon government website, minutes must include the following information:
• Members present
• All motions, proposals, resolutions, orders, ordinances and measures proposed and their disposition. The result of all votes by name of each member (except for public bodies consisting of more than 25 members). No secret ballots are allowed
• The substance of discussion on any matter
• A reference to any document discussed

While most but not all ASCOCC minutes from the 2009/2010 year have member’s names, they do not follow policy in regards to substantive discussions on topics raised at the meeting, the votes are not attributed to each member and many of the issues regarding ASCOCC’s expenditures are left out of the minutes entirely.

Council members are not allowed to decide on issues outside of meetings according to state law. Even if they are meeting socially outside of their duties.

The COCC student government has begun recording their meetings as of Oct. 22. Dustin Moore, finance coordinator for ASCOCC, had been taking minutes until that time.

“We’ve begun to record our meeting minutes and if it follows ORS law, we will continue to do so,” said Moore.

Documenting meetings “has been going on since the time of the Romans,” Stell said. “They call it the oldest government profession.”

Pierce said ASCOCC is seeking advice as to their responsibilities in regard to minutes according to ORS 192.

“We’ll do whatever we get advice on,” said Pierce

You may contact Kirsteen Wolf at kwolf@cocc.edu

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