Attorney General's Office: All Meetings Shall Be Open To The Public To View & Attend

Jul 07, 2011

I contacted the Attorney General’s office in the Sunshine Law division about people being prevented from attending the meeting on Tuesday because of room capacity. The answer came back that all public meetings must allow all the public to view and attend the public meeting.

The sign on the outside door of the chamber read:
RE: Occupancy Limit in Council Chambers

Seating Capacity For Audience Area: 61
Platform Capacity: 10-12
Telecommunications technician: 1
Standing inside Council Chambers is only allowed by City Officials

In accordance to [building code] the occupancy limit is 75.

The AG’s office asked that I file an official complaint so that they can investigate, below is my complaint:

  1. Travis

    If you choose to hold your public meetings in 800 square feet of space then when the circumstance exceeds limitation you do the right thing and postpone the hearing and move it to a larger venue. We have a population of over 16,000. Does our city council really believe that putting a sign on the door stating the seating capacity of 61 is doing the public a service. City council members are elected to serve a duty to the public, nothing less. The meetings are held publicly for a reason, when you start choosing who can attend and who is left out you have now crossed a line into a slippery slope. I don’t know who advised this was the best option but wow, I am in disbelief that this was thought to be the best choice of action.

  2. John

    So if 2,000 people want to attend the meeting, the city has to cram all 2,000 of them into that 800 square foot area?

    1. Brian Becker

      No, they have to move to a different venue for that meeting.

  3. Kathryn Puckett

    I wonder if the Daily American Republic is going to sue the City Council of Poplar Bluff for violating the Sunshine Law like they did the Twin Rivers School District several years ago.

  4. Bonnie Jaggie

    I am outraged. We the citizens of Poplar Bluff have the right to participate in what is happening in our town. Thank you Brian for protesting for us. Our family will stand by you all the way.

  5. Julie Hudson

    I love it! I know several people that was not allowed inside the room. They sure had more room when everyone got up and walked out!