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