- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas judge has dismissed a Freedom of Information Act complaint against Fort Smith’s city clerk, saying her interactions with elected officials didn’t violate state law.

The one-day bench trial concluded on Wednesday, the Southwest Times Record reported (https://bit.ly/1sjJw5f ). Resident Jack Swink filed the complaint in July and argued City Clerk Sherri Gard violated the act by individually polling city board members on an issue rather than conducting the proceedings in an open meeting.

Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge James Cox ruled Wednesday that Gard’s contact with them didn’t violate state statute. He found her communication with the board members didn’t constitute a meeting as defined by the law.

Swink’s attorney said his client hasn’t decided if he’ll appeal.

The interactions in question involved a three-year audit of the city’s legal contract with a law firm and a proposal to establish a commission to study outside versus in-house legal representation. A city board member wanted items removed from the board’s June 17 and July 1 regular meetings. They were later taken off.

Gard said she followed the same process she always had when a city board member contacts her about the board’s agenda. She said she calls other members to find out whether they support or oppose removing items from the list.


Information from: Southwest Times Record, https://www.swtimes.com/

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