Lawsuit: Lane Commissioners violated public meeting law

Press Release:

(Eugene, OR) -Two concerned citizens, Eleanor Dumdi and Edward Anderson, filed suit today in Lane County Circuit Court seeking to hold Lane County Commissioners Rob Handy, Peter Sorenson, and Bill Fleenor accountable for violations of Oregon’s public meeting laws. The lawsuit alleges the three Lane County Commissioners decided to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars hiring new administrative staff after holding a number of private closed-door meetings. The lawsuit further alleges that Lane County Board of Commissioners is regularly violating Oregon’s public meetings laws and will continue to do so if a court does not intervene to stop them.

Oregon’s public meeting laws were enacted in the 1970’s following the Watergate Scandal that resulted in the demise of the Nixon administration. The laws require all meetings of a governing body, such as the Lane County Board of Commissioners, to be open to the public.

“The Lane County Board of Commissioners is responsible for conducting the public’s business publicly,” said plaintiff Eleanor Dumdi. “Democracy requires eternal vigilance and our democracy will not continue to work if we allow three individuals to meet behind closed doors and decide how our tax dollars should be spent.” According to plaintiff Anderson the case provides an excellent example of why Oregon has public meeting laws in the first place. Said Anderson, “The public is worried about keeping criminals in jail and maintaining vital services. Providing Rob Handy, Peter Sorenson, and Bill Fleenor with personal secretaries is not a top order of county business. Our Commissioners would know this if they were making decisions in public, instead of behind closed doors.”

— To avoid politicizing this matter, plaintiffs do not wish to personally provide any further public comment. All media inquiries should be directed to plaintiffs’ attorney: Nathan R. Rietmann Attorney at Law

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Posted by at 02:52 | Posted in Measure 37 | 3 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rob DeHarpport

    Eli & Edward,
    Kudos to both of you! This sort of activity is the very reason so many are distrustful and disgusted with our elected officials. I’d also like to thank Commisioners Stewart and Dwyer for holding fast in thier opposition to this wasteful “aide debacle.” If the “Three Amigoes” can’t handle the workload without an aide perhaps it’s time they step aside. Surely someone could manage the job for $70,000.00 per year without aides.

  • Jerry

    Of course they did – they are incompetent buffoons.

  • Scott Bartlett

    With all due respect, this is a bogus, phony and politically inspired lawsuit. There was no methodical violation of the oregon Open meetings Law. I sit on the Lane Co Budget Committee and know wherof I speak. This is nasty and unfair.

    The fact is that Comm. Fleenor voted AGAINST the funding of the Commissioners Assistant position- part-time fundiong. But he is accused of having voted for it and illegally colluding to vote for it. Absurd.

    If any of you took the time to honesrtly understand the immense work-load a rura; Commissioner can shoulder- having up to 150 emails each day and respionding to dozens of calls for assistance in cutting through bureaucratic red tape, you might not be some harsh and judgemerntal. I doubt any of you workls harder than Bill Fleenor’s 70-80 plus a week…7 days mostly.

    This is a non-partisan position. Maybe some of you should get more informed and stop bneing so petty and mean-spirited!! Youy don’t know what you’re talking about, frankly.

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