FORT SMITH, Ark. — A prosecuting attorney says he won’t press charges against officials of a western Arkansas city who he says violated the Freedom of Information Act by discussing city business in emails.
Prosecutor Dan Shue said in a letter to the Fort Smith Board of Directors that the public should be privy to all board discussion.
Attorney Joey McCutchen filed two FOIA lawsuits on behalf of a resident. One is against the city, and the other is against City Directors Keith Lau, Andre Good and Mike Lorenz.
The lawsuits allege that emails directors exchanged discussing city business amounted to an unlawful meeting and ask the court to stop directors from conducting business out of public view.
Shue cautioned that the sheriff’s office and his office will “be compelled by the law to take further action” if it happens again.
“I respect Daniel Shue very much,” Lau said.
Lau has said he thinks the law is somewhat vague when it comes to electronic communication.
Good said former City Administrator Ray Gosack would advise the board if they were “tinkering on the line.”
Lorenz previously said that he hadn’t received FOIA training. The board of directors is scheduled to take FOIA training on Sept. 26, City Clerk Sherri Gard told the Southwest Times Record .
City attorney Jerry Canfield issued a letter to Shue on Tuesday, saying the city disagrees with his opinion of the emails.
Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/