For reasons unknown a few individuals have expressed concern about the Arizona Open Meeting requirements and the possibility that those requirements apply to Big Park Council.
This is a concern that has risen in the past and been fully addressed. But, before getting into all the details, it is useful to consider the nature of the Big Park Council as contrasted to the purpose and intent of open meeting laws.
- The Big Park Council is an all volunteer, non-profit, private corporation operating on a total budget of less than $10 per day, provided by its membership dues of just $125 annually. The Big Park Council has no governmental or public authority, no public policy development or enforcement powers, and receives no governmental or tax based funding.
- Open meeting laws in general require that, with notable exceptions, most meetings of federal, state, county and local government agencies and regulatory bodies be open to the public, along with their decisions and records. They ensure the public’s right to access to the internal workings of government at all levels.
The Big Park Council is not a public, governmental or regulatory body.
As noted above the BPRCC has explored the question of the applicability of Arizona Revised Statutes Open Meeting Laws, even seeking a formal legal opinion which is provided below.
QUESTION: Are meetings of the Council of Representatives of the Big Park Regional Coordinating council, Inc. (“BPRCC”) and its committees and Executive Board subject to the provisions of the Arizona Open Meeting Law (“OML”)?
DISCUSSION: The BPRCC does not appear to satisfy the description of any of the entity definitions that it needs to fall under if it is to be subject to the OML. The main requirement that the BPRCC fails under the definition of “Public Body” is that its board of directors (the BPRCC Bylaws calls it the Council Of Representatives) are not appointed or elected by the State of AZ or Yavapai County. For that same reason, the BPRCC fails under the definition of a “Quasi-Judicial Body”. Finally, the BPRCC fails to qualify as an “Advisory Committee” or “Subcommittee” due to the fact that it was not established on motion & order of a public body or by the presiding officer of a public body. In addition to the foregoing, the BPRCC was advised in writing by Yavapai County in 2002 that it was not an Advisory Committee.
CONCLUSION: If the BPRCC is an entity that does not fit the definition of the entities that are subject to the OML, it is not governed by the OML. Based on the discussion above, the BPRCC fails the definitional test and, therefore, is not governed by the OML.