Two Lakes Sewer Authority Questions

A subscriber has asked the following questions.

The Articles of Incorporation for the renamed Two Lakes Sewer Authority were published once on July 29, 2017 in the Manistee News Advocate.

See prior posting here

ARTICLE THREE – STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION

The Authority is incorporated and formed as a municipal authority and public body corporate as authorized by Act 233 of 1955 as amended, Municipal Sewage and Water Supply Systems, MCL 124.281 et seq.

ARTICLE SIX – DUTIES

……. As a municipal authority and a public body corporate, the Authority shall comply with the Michigan Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

a_15.261_Open_Meetings_Act

The reader asks – the following is the Notice of initial meeting of the Two Lakes Sewer Authority as published in the Manistee News Advocate and as reproduced as is by Bear Lake Township.

Here is the guidance document from MSU of how to post a Public Meeting under the revised 2012 Michigan Open Meetings Act.

20130417_OpenMeetingAct_Fig1

Does the Notice comply with the following?

15.264 Public notice of meetings generally; contents; places of posting. [M.S.A. 4.1800(14) ]

Sec. 4. The following provisions shall apply with respect to public notice of meetings:

(a) A public notice shall always contain the name of the public body to which the notice applies, its telephone number if one exists, and its address.

(b) A public notice for a public body shall always be posted at its principal office and any other locations considered appropriate by the public body.

15.265 Public notice of regular meetings, change in schedule of regular meetings, rescheduled regular meetings, or special meetings; time for posting; statement of date, time, and place; applicability of subsection (4); recess or adjournment; emergency sessions; meeting in residential dwelling; notice. [M.S.A. 4.1800(15) ]

(4) Except as provided in this subsection or in subsection (6), for a rescheduled regular or a special meeting of a public body, a public notice stating the date, time, and place of the meeting shall be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting in a prominent and conspicuous place at both the public body’s principal office and, if the public body directly or indirectly maintains an official internet presence that includes monthly or more frequent updates of public meeting agendas or minutes, on a portion of the website that is fully accessible to the public. The public notice on the website shall be included on either the homepage or on a separate webpage dedicated to public notices for nonregularly scheduled public meetings and accessible via a prominent and conspicuous link on the website’s homepage that clearly describes its purpose for public notification of those nonregularly scheduled public meetings.


The reader notes that the Inaugural Meeting Notice was not posted on the web sites of either the Village of Bear Lake or Pleasanton Township. A word processed document, identical in format, was posted to the front door of the Village Offices on the day of the September 7 meeting.

The Two Lakes Articles of Incorporation state:

ARTICLE TWELVE – BOARD MEETINGS

The Board shall meet annually for its organizational meeting on the first Wednesday in January. If the Board elects to have regular meetings, these meetings of the Board shall be held at such time and place as shall be prescribed by resolution or motion of the Board.

….. Public notice of all organizational, regular, special or rescheduled regular or rescheduled special meetings of the Board shall be given pursuant to the applicable provisions of The Open Meetings Act.

ARTICLE THIRTEEN – OFFICERS AND BOARD AFFAIRS

The Board shall appoint the officers of the Authority annually by majority vote, and each officer shall be a member of the Board to qualify for appointment, except the Treasurer who need not be a Board member to qualify for appointment. The officers of the Authority shall be the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. The Chair of the Board shall be the presiding officer……
The Secretary shall be the recording officer of the Board.


At that September 7, 2017 Meeting Greg McPherson of the Village of Bear Lake was appointed as Secretary.

“Board Members were sworn in to the Two Lake Collaborative Sewer Authority.
Meetings will be scheduled on the first Wednesday of each Month, starting with October 4, 2017 at 4:00 PM. The first meeting will be located at the Bear Lake Township Hall.
The Board acknowledged that the Open Meetings Act applies and public comments are accepted at the meetings.
*******************
The September Two Lakes Draft Minutes were approved at that meeting held on October 4 and not made publicly available until after that date.

The October 2017 Village Draft Minutes were not received until October 30: containing the following

“Two Lakes Sewer Collaborative: McPherson reported committee had discussion on communication methods with the public. They would like to post their minutes on Bear Lake Village website with links to Pleasanton, Onekama & Bear Lake Township.

Motion to appoint Jeff Bair as the alternate designee for the Two Lake Sewer Collaborative by Bass, seconded by McPherson. Motion carried.

Aye: Bass, Evans, McPherson, Ronning, Schroeder, Bair
Nay: none
Absent: Johnson

Meetings will be the first Wednesday of each month at 4pm at Bear Lake Township Hall, next meeting is November 1, 2017.

Draft October Minutes of the Two Lakes Sewer Authority are not available as they have not been approved.

Members of the public who arrived to attend the November 1 meeting found a note posted to the door at Bear Lake Township that the meeting had been cancelled there being nothing to discuss.

The reader asks:

  1. was the notice for the September 7 meeting posted in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.
  2. Where and when should meeting Minutes, draft and approved, as well as the officially adopted schedule of meetings be publicly available.
  3. Where and when should notice of cancellation of meetings be publicly available.

These are questions best raised under the guidance of the MI Open Meetings Act:

15.270 Decisions of public body; presumption; civil action to invalidate; jurisdiction; venue; reenactment of disputed decision. [M.S.A. 4.1800(20) ]

Sec. 10.

(1) Decisions of a public body shall be presumed to have been adopted in compliance with the requirements of this act. The attorney general, the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the public body serves, or any person may commence a civil action in the circuit court to challenge the validity of a decision of a public body made in violation of this act.

(2) A decision made by a public body may be invalidated if the public body has not complied with the requirements of section 3(1), (2), and (3) in making the decision or if failure to give notice in accordance with section 5 has interfered with substantial compliance with section 3(1), (2), and (3) and the court finds that the noncompliance or failure has impaired the rights of the public under this act.

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