Is the County Budget Commission a Public Body?…ask the Amazing Mr. Ames

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[LFC Comments:  A tip of the hat to Brian Ames, the “Amazing Mr. Ames” — “Pro Se Litigant Extraordinaire”  He prevailed in a lawsuit he filed, and defeated the establishment.  Bravo, Bravo,, Bravo…]

Open Meeting Act Violations

Is a county budget commission a public body subject to the provisions of R.C. 121.22, the Open Meetings Act?

A champion for open government, Brian Ames of Portage County, has gotten the answer to that question in the Court of Common Pleas there.

On January 8, 2020, he filed a lawsuit against the Portage County Budget Commission alleging that it was in violation of the Open Meetings Act because it had never provided public notice of its meetings.

Today the Court of Common Pleas has ruled on that question of law: (See attached)

The Court finds that as a matter of law, the Portage County Budget Commission is clearly
a “public body” under R.C. 121.22 (B) (1) (a) because it is a legislatively-created decision-
making body of a county and school district. Being a public body, the budget commission is
subject to the requirements of the Ohio Open Meetings Act.

The Portage County Budget Commission must now answer for 31 alleged violations.

A county budget commission is established pursuant to R.C. 5705.27 consisting of the county auditor, the county treasurer, and the prosecuting attorney.

The county prosecuting attorney is expected to know the law, including the Open Meetings Act, since his office is responsible to advise the various public bodies in the county, townships, and villages on compliance.

It is unfathomable how the Portage County Prosecutor participated in budget commission meetings for decades in reckless disregard of the law.

Court ruling:  2020_07_24_12b6_overruled

Here is a link to an article on how Mr. Ames is bringing changes to Portage County.

https://www.record-courier.com/news/20171125/legal-battles-by-brian-ames-bring-changes-to-portage-county-meetings

*****

[LFC Comments: Payday for Mr. Ames – 31 violations x $500.00 each = $15,500 plus attorney fee…….cha-ching…]



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