Open-meeting complaints up for decisions from Parkston, Sanborn CountySIOUX FALLS — Two local government bodies in the Mitchell area face decisions by the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission after complaints were filed regarding alleged improper public notice of meetings last year.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
SIOUX FALLS — Two local government bodies in the Mitchell area face decisions by the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission after complaints were filed regarding alleged improper public notice of meetings last year.
The OMC heard cases out of Silver Creek Township, located in Sanborn County, and Parkston in August, and hopes to make final decisions on them at its meeting today in Sioux Falls.
The OMC hears complaints when it is suspected an open meeting violation has occurred, but the severity of the violation doesn’t warrant criminal charges.
The complaint out of Silver Creek Township was filed by resident Don Peterson on June 28.
Peterson claimed town officials Mark Snedeker and Robert Davis did not give proper public notice when they met and decided to trench a ditch across a township road, which resulted in the flooding of Peterson’s land.
Both Davis and Snedeker denied any meeting was held, but admitted they do get together to discuss road maintenance.
Snedeker went on to claim that based on information out of the Township Association Manual, two members of a township’s board can meet regarding town maintenance of $2,500 or less without giving public notice.
He went on to argue that Peterson’s land would have flooded regardless of the road maintenance, and he and Davis acted as they did to prevent damage to the road itself.
The OMC deferred the case to its meeting today in order to obtain and review a copy of the Township Association Manual and then come to a final decision.
The OMC also hopes to rule on an alleged open meeting violation from a meeting last spring by the Parkston Board of Adjustment, after the OMC already reprimanded the Parkston Zoning and Planning Board Aug. 1 for not giving public notice for a meeting Feb. 11.
The latest complaint was filed by Jim Weiss, who was represented by attorney Paul Tschetter at the OMC’s Aug. 1 meeting.
The allegations stem from an executive session of the Parkston Board of Adjustment Nov. 9, which was attended by members of the Parkston Zoning and Planning Board. The session was an appeal of the Feb. 11 Parkston Zoning and Planning Board decision.
Tschetter claimed the Parkston Zoning and Planning Board violated open meeting requirements when it allegedly went into executive session with the Parkston Board of Adjustment Nov. 9.
The OMC will review the case and decide if any additional reprimands should be issued.