Why don’t we do it back of chambers after the meeting?
Three Okemah City Council members have now found themselves at the center of criminal charges after allegedly violating the state’s Open Meeting Act.
Arrest warrants were issued on Monday, Nov. 30, for Lloyd L. Raimer, Wayne J. Bacon and Bobby G. Massey. All present city council members. According to court papers filed by the district attorney’s office, the Open Meeting Act violation occurred following a June 22, 2015 council meeting. Michael Dean, an agent with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, began investigating the allegations after the OSBI was requested by Okfuskee County District Attorney Max Cook.
According to the probable cause affidavit, after the June 22 meeting had adjourned, Bacon, Massey and Raimer went to the back of the council chambers and began to discuss city business with other individuals. Court records claim, “The [city] business discussed by Raimer was reference the hiring of an individual for lake patrol. Raimer discussed it was not right to hire the individual because the person was already employed by the city as fire chief and code enforcement.” The affidavit continues, “Raimer knew Massey and Bacon were present but didn’t know what, if any, discussion they had reference this subject.”
Nearly four years ago, the Okemah City Council was criticized for appointing a new member in an apparent violation of the Open Meeting Act because the action wasn’t listed on the meeting agenda. After questions were raised about the appointment, that councilman resigned and the council sought applications for a replacement.
None of the current Council members under fire were part of that earlier kerfuffle.