Nixon sues Christian County Commissioners to enforce Sunshine Law

 Attorney General Jay Nixon  released the news today—Jan. 18— that his office finally acted on complaints sent to him by county  resident Ernest O’Gaffney. What follows is the news release from the AG’s office:
“Attorney General Jay Nixon today filed a lawsuit against the three members of the Christian County Commission, alleging the commissioners violated the Missouri Sunshine Law when they appointed John Housley as county counselor.

The lawsuit alleges Presiding Commissioner John Grubaugh and commissioners Tom Huff and Bill Barnett violated the Sunshine Law by:

• Convening a meeting without public notice at which the appointment took place;
• Failing to keep any minutes of such meeting;
• Failing to conduct such meeting in a manner so as to be open to the public;
• Failing to record the vote to appoint Housley to the position of county counselor; and
• Conducting such meeting as a closed meeting without an affirmative vote to do so, and without prior public notice of its intent to do so.

“The Sunshine Law is quite clear that, with few exceptions, public business needs to be conducted in the open, with appropriate prior notice,” Nixon said. “The record shows that was not the case here, and these officials need to be held accountable.”

The lawsuit asks the Christian County Circuit Court to enter a judgment finding that the commissioners committed knowing and purposeful violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law; permanently enjoin the commissioners from further violations of the Sunshine Law; and assess civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each knowing violation, and up to $5,000 for each purposeful violation of the Sunshine Law.”

The Attorney General office also has two criminal complaints pending—one stemming from a forgery charge relating to the Housley appointment and the other from gravel diverted from the county’s Common 1 Road District to a parking lot at the Chadwick School.

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3 Comments on “Nixon sues Christian County Commissioners to enforce Sunshine Law”

  1. gadflly Says:

    All of a sudden it is awful quite out there…..

    Is it the fact that you have to identify yourself? Or is it the rats jumping ship???

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  3. hack687 Says:

    Many counties are watching Christian County residents in their clean up of county gov’t. Sunshine law violations are some of the least of laws being broken in my county. We are seeking help from AG’s office just as CC is now. Our work would be so much easier if we had Ron Cleek. If you, as a resident haven’t thanked Mr. Cleek for his straight forward, no nonsense approach to enforcing the law, maybe you should do that.
    And as the “gadfly” put it it sure is quiet out there. One CC resident put it this way. There’s been a run on paper towel sales in the county, people buying them up to get the egg off their faces since Jeremiah Nixon filed the charges. Hmmmmm.

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