Regarding the OPMA and the CAPR lawsuit ... the closed meetings of the CAO Implementation Committee took place regularly for months. CAPR's position is that these meetings should have been open to the public, according to the OPMA, because the committee took action on behalf of the Council in reviewing and discarding CAO options ... and because the committee involved a negative quorum of Council members (three members being sufficient to vote down a proposal).
The County alleges that no actions were taken in these meetings ... nothing happened. There were hundreds of hours of meetings, and nothing substantive occurred. They invited in consultants and staff, but only discussed ministerial functions such as scheduling. There are no meeting minutes, only some hand scribbled notes in addition to emails between staff and committee members. When deposed about the content of the meetings, participants could not recall what they discussed.
- Lovel Pratt was deposed on January 3, 2013, and she expressed 67 denials of knowledge (63 "I don't recall", 4 "I don't know")
- Richard Fralick was deposed on January 3, 2013, and he expressed 22 denials (21 "I don't recall", 1 "I don't know")
- Patty Miller was deposed on January 4, 2013, and she expressed 63 denials (51 "I don't recall", 12 "I don't know")
- Shireene Hale was deposed on January 17, 2013, and she expressed 100 denials (52 "I don't recall", 31 "I don't know", 17 "I just don't have a specific recollection")
Yesterday, this case finally reached the Washington Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard. A ruling is still several weeks away. The justices were very engaged and asked good questions yesterday. Several seemed skeptical that the County could spend so much time in secret doing nothing.
They aren't the only ones.