. . . In vetoing the ordinance, Brainard wrote that the commission met and discussed the creation of the conservation district for months in advance of the City Council meeting.
The commission, he wrote, did not post public notice of meetings on Feb. 13, March 13, April 17, June 12 and Aug. 14. The Carmel commission did post a notice for a public hearing on Oct. 2, before recommending the City Council approve the ordinance.
“The Johnson Conservation District was discussed at multiple public meetings that were not noticed,” Brainard wrote. “This is a fatal flaw in the process that would put the city in a non-defensible position if it were sued. More importantly, transparent and open government is paramount; secret meetings cannot be countenanced.”
Communities can face stiff penalties for violating the open door law, including having decisions overturned in court. Neighboring Westfield has faced criticism because a City Council committee discussed financing a soccer arena in meetings that were not posted . . .Perhaps Mayor Brainard has other motivations for his decision to veto the ordinance because an election is happening next year, but it's still the right decision to make. We've witnessed many local government leaders flaunting various state laws as of late so it is refreshing when any public official stands up for the rule of law.