Editor’s note: The following open letter was mailed to officials with the City of Martin regarding a special meeting that was set Feb. 9. For more information on the meeting, which was ultimately canceled, see the story in today’s edition.
On Jan. 22, the Floyd County Chronicle and Times hand-delivered the newspaper’s annual meeting notice requests, per KRS 61.823 4 (a) (b), to Martin City Clerk Ethel Clouse, declaring our preference to be notified of all meetings of the Martin City Council and Martin City Tourism.
After the close of business for both Martin City Hall and the Floyd County Chronicle and Times — 5:37 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8 — the Floyd County Chronicle and Times received two faxes from Martin City Hall containing a notice of a special meeting that the Martin City Council planned to hold at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.
We understand there is no Kentucky law that requires any local government body to issue special meeting notices only during normal business hours. The day and time in which this meeting was called, however, and the fact that it was canceled after the public learned about the meeting and came to city hall, raises several concerns.
In light of our concerns, and because our mission is to keep the public informed, we assert the following:
These notices were sent in violation of KRS 61.823 4 (a), which states:
“As soon as possible, written notice shall be delivered personally, transmitted by facsimile machine, or mailed to every member of the public agency as well as each media organization which has filed a written request, including a mailing address, to receive notice of special meetings. The notice shall be calculated so that it shall be received at least twenty-four (24) hours before the special meeting. The public agency may periodically, but no more often than once in a calendar year, inform media organizations that they will have to submit a new written request or no longer receive written notice of special meetings until a new written request is filed.”
These notices were sent in violation of KRS 61.823 4 (b), which states:
“A public agency may satisfy the requirements of paragraph (a) of this subsection by transmitting the written notice by electronic mail to public agency members and media organizations that have filed a written request with the public agency indicating their preference to receive electronic mail notification in lieu of notice by personal delivery, facsimile machine, or mail. The written request shall include the electronic mail address or addresses of the agency member or media organization.”
Respectfully, we ask you to please review the open meeting request form submitted by the Floyd County Chronicle and Times on Jan. 22, which specifically details our preference for email notifications, and please adhere to KRS 61.823 (a) and KRS 61.823 (b) when notifying us of meetings of the Martin City Council and Martin City Tourism.
Thank you for your time in considering this request.