Wadena County Commissioners: Possible violation of open meeting law discussed at length

by Trinity Gruenberg


The Wadena County Commissioners held their regular meeting on April 6.

Open Meeting Law Discussion

Commissioner Jon Kangas discussed the issue when he joined a committee meeting to observe last fall, causing a quorum and possibly violating the open meeting law.

On September 16, Kangas joined a building committee meeting via Zoom. Commissioners Bill Stearns and Sheldon Monson were already at the meeting. County Attorney Kyra Ladd notified Ryan Odden, county coordinator, about the situation and was advised to either end the meeting or have Kangas leave the meeting as it was a quorum and the meeting was not posted as a special meeting, a violation of the open meeting law.

Kangas said he joined the meeting to observe.

He discussed the situation with Ladd. He read the information on similar matters that led him to believe he was not in violation. He received information from the League of Minnesota Cities handbook which stated his attendance wouldn’t be an issue if he didn’t participate in the meeting.

He read a Minnesota attorney general’s opinion from August 1996 regarding city council committees where additional members of the city council attending a meeting, following the open meeting law, didn’t require a separate posting if the additional members didn’t participate in discussion or deliberations. The opinion was not clear as they were unaware of any precedent that would allow a quorum of members to discuss city business without prior notice. . .

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