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Since 2000 I have been trying to obtain a copy of the AG's Opinion/LOA on the grounds for removal of a member of a Building Codes Division Board. I have written a letter (2000), spoken personally to the AG General (Hardy Myers) outside the office during one of his smoking breaks, spoken to a member of the AG staff at a later date; and have still not gotten any reply.
This AG advice exists in a 3-ring binder located in the Building Codes Division in Salem. But they have contually obstructed releasing the information. One time they required that I know the exact date (even though they could have just brought the binder to the front counter and we could have paged through it together). At another time they utilized the fact that state agencies can charge a fee for producing public records. They concocted an exorbitant fee of $600 to produce the document.
The sad truth is that the AG exists solely for the purpose of defending state agencies in court, should the public sue them for not following state statutes (which they often do not). The AG is not interested in seeing that state government actually follows the laws and statutes.
I asked a Senate Committee Chair (Kate Brown) to request this Opinion or LOA from the AG at one of the Board Appointment Meetings; and she indicated there would be a significant charge from the AG to produce that, and that she wasn't interested. Thus, when people are appointed to state boards, there is still no information given to them as to any grounds for their removal.
A Board Member may be removed from a Board for actions "contrary to the public good." In the case of the Building Codes Division's Building Codes Structures Board and Residential Structures Board; such contrary actions certainly would include deliberately weakening the earthquake design provsions from the national model building codes as they are adopted into Oregon.
I believe that under former AG Hardy Myers, the interpretation of the Oregon public meetings law has been also deliberately weakened: so that state agencies and Commissions are now having meetings "in secret" to avoid not only public scrutiny, but also the keeping of minutes and any documents which should be considered public records--but these records are not accessible without a lawsuit against the offending entity.
posted 3 years, 5 months ago
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