“There should be a law…” is something that I tend to avoid. Quite frankly, we have too many laws as it is, and most of the time when you hear that phrase, what comes next is something that will curtail civil or economic liberties to some degree.
Of course, with that opening paragraph, there is bound to be a ‘but’, and here it is:
From looking at the Official Code of Georgia as available on LexisNexis online, it appears that there is no law requiring local government meetings to be open to the public. This, to me, is despicable. While there may be SOME reason for closed door sessions in certain extremely limited situations, by and large local government meetings should be open to the public.
But there is an equally important issue here, one that I’ve never seen addressed – and the one that resulted in me doing that search of OCGA. You see, I’ve lived in several cities in Georgia spread across each of the State’s lateral zones (north, central, south). In each of those, I’ve noticed the same things happening in every town: local commission meetings are advertised as ‘open to the public’ but are held at times during the workday when John Q. Public is at work and therefore cannot attend. Local media coverage is often spotty, at best, and therefore John Q. Public may or may not be truly informed of the decisions his local leaders are making – decisions that affect his day to day life far more drastically and severely than any decision made at the State or Federal level.