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How to buy the benefit of the doubt, for nothing

Several years ago I attended a government commission meeting where an appointed chairman openly rejected an assistant attorney general’s recommendation to convene an executive session.

“No, I don’t think we need an executive session to talk about this,” the chairman said, to the best of my recollection.

It’s not that every — or even most — public bodies are eager to shut their doors to the public. It’s that confidence is inspired in government when the doors remain open when the real decision-making process begins.

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What we’re not IRC-ing: Map-drawing panel spends half its time meeting behind closed doors (access required)

Prior to voting to award a lucrative contract to a mapping consultant on June 29, the Independent Redistricting Commission had spent as much time in closed door executive meetings as it had before the public.

And public records held by the commission itself, as well as statements made by commissioners, indicate the IRC may have violated Arizona’s open meeting laws designed to maintain a level of transparency in government affairs – that is, if the state Constitution doesn’t grant the agency unfettered contracting authority.

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