For the past year, the Tarrant Appraisal District has been in violation of state law. By failing to publicly post agendas for meetings over 72 hours in advance, any actions they have taken could be nullified by the Texas Open Meetings Act.
According to Texas law, a governmental body is in violation if it does not post an agenda in a public place at least 72 hours in advance of holding a meeting. Any votes taken at a meeting that was not property published could be nullified.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram recently discovered that the Tarrant Appraisal District is the biggest Open Meetings Act violator in Tarrant County, giving the following dates of all violations and the amount time in which they missed the deadline:
- June 30, 2011 (one day)
- June 17, 2011 (two days)
- April 22, 2011 (one hour)
- February 15, 2011 (two days)
- February 4, 2011 (four hours)
- January 21, 2011 (one day)
- December 3, 2010 (one day)
- October 15, 2010 (90 minutes)
- September 17, 2010 (one day)
- July 9, 2010 (one day)
It’s great that the FWST has uncovered this obvious lack of general transparency, but it doesn’t take a major news outlet to bring instances like this to light. It is as simple as going to your local county clerk’s office and reviewing the time stamps on the meeting agendas to see when they were posted.
The best kind of government is an open and transparent government. And by verifying that your local governments are abiding by the 72-hour posting requirement is a great way to make sure everyone has a chance to keep their eye on their public officials.