Members of an ambulance board met recently, a reporter tells me, to discuss in closed session
the starting salaries of paramedics. There was no discussion of hiring any actual candidates, but
rather the discussion focused solely on the starting pay level for this category of employees.
Perhaps when those paramedics are hired, they can put a splint on the sunshine law, because the
board surely broke it badly when they held that discussion. Discussion of entry level salary
standards are never, ever a proper subject for a closed meeting. Where individual employees'
currently on the payroll are the subject of discussion, the salary must be discussed in open
session because the law is clear that the exception for individual personnel records shall not
apply to the salaries ... of... employees of public agencies once they are employed as such. And
the exception that covers hiring new employees is clear that it only applies when personal
information about the employee is discussed....
Speaking of breaks, sometimes I feel like a broken record. This blog is about a year old and
sometimes I find the same problems over and over in the state. While the Attorney General's
office may do annual training, clearly the problem of ongoing violations is bigger than that
training program can solve. Members of public bodies either don't understand the law, don't
want to understand the law, or don't care. Maybe it's more than the law that's broke here, folks.
Maybe the system is broke. if a higher priority were placed on following this law, then members
of public bodies would make a more concerted effort to understand the law.