Crosby violates open meetings, records law

CROSBY — The City of Crosby violated North Dakota’s open meetings and records laws in holding administrative meetings prior to a regular meeting without notice and failing to adequately respond to a records request, according to Attorney General Drew Wrigley.

The Crosby City Council met July 12, 2021, to hold administrative hearings on alleged violations of its nuisance ordinance. No notice was prepared or posted nor was an agenda prepared. A news reporter from the Crosby Journal the next day requested numerous documents related to the meeting and alleged violations. The city denied certain records, citing “attorney work product.”

Wrigley reviewed the attorney emails that were denied and determined some did not meet the exemption standard for public records. He noted that an e-mail from an attorney that is included in an e-mail chain doesn’t exempt the entire e-mail chain from public records but only that portion of the e-mail chain that meets the legal definition for exemption can be excluded.

Within a week of the Sept. 29 issuance of the opinion, the City of Crosby must provide minutes of the July 12 nuisance hearings to the Journal and any members of the public upon request. It must provide attorney e-mails after redacting only those portions that are exempt.


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