- Associated Press - Monday, April 23, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Industrial Commission is eight months behind in publishing meeting minutes, according to the executive director.

Karlene Fine said her assistant has been out for an extended medical leave, which has contributed to the backlog.

“I’ve been having to carry the load for her and myself,” Fine said. “I haven’t had a chance to get the minutes finished or up and posted. Our goal is to get them up after every meeting.”

But similar delays also occurred in 2014 and 2015, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

In a 2014 opinion that was written by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the commission was found to be in violation of the state’s open records law for failing to provide copies of meeting minutes in a timely manner. The Office of the State Auditor also cited the commission in 2016 for untimely approval of meeting minutes in an audit for the biennium ending June 30, 2015.

Sarah Vogel, a former North Dakota agriculture commissioner, said the blame for the recent delay should fall on the elected members of the Industrial Commission, not the staff.

“It’s bad management,” Vogel said. “I find it extraordinarily frustrating.”

The commission is made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Stenehjem and current Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

“The irony is that the chief law enforcement officer whose duty it is to enforce to open records and open meetings law is on this commission,” Vogel said.

Stenehjem said the commission aims to catch up on the meeting minutes by June.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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