Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Sebelius announces end of closed meetings

December 11, 2002


— Gov.-elect Kathleen Sebelius plans no more secret meetings of her state government review teams after Thursday, the same day a judge is to consider a legal challenge to the closed meetings by several Kansas news organizations, including the Lawrence Journal-World.

"That has always been the intention," Nicole Corcoran-Basso, a spokeswoman for Sebelius, said of the timing of the end of the closed-door sessions.

Newspapers and media groups sued last week, contending the meetings should be open to the public under the Kansas Open Meetings Act. Shawnee County State District Judge Eric Rosen scheduled a hearing for Thursday about the media's request for a temporary court order to open the meetings.

But on Tuesday, Corcoran-Basso said the final closed meetings would conclude the same day as the court hearing.

Task force leaders will later confer with Sebelius, who will decide what areas deserve more attention once she is sworn in as governor next month, Corcoran-Basso said.

After that, meetings of what Sebelius has called Budget Efficiency Savings Teams, or BEST, would be open to the public, Corcoran-Basso said.

Mike Merriam, an attorney representing the media, said that even though Sebelius has said there would be no more closed-door meetings of BEST after Thursday, the legal challenge still needed to go forward.

"There's nothing to prevent her from saying that today and calling for a meeting on Friday," he said.

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