County will send one commissioner to Justice Matters event

One of three Douglas County Commissioners will attend an event hosted by Justice Matters Thursday, to avoid inadvertently breaking open meetings laws.

The decision comes one day after the Lawrence City Commission chose two of five commissioners to attend the same event for similar concerns.

County Commissioner Mike Gaughan will attend the meeting, in which members of Justice Matters, a religious group that addresses justice issues, plans to hold a discussion with elected officials on their positions regarding mental health care and affordable housing in the Lawrence area.

County Administrator Craig Weinaug said that if a quorum were to be reached at a different setting and time than what is normal for the county commission, that would qualify it as a special meeting.

He said that under law, special meetings have more requirements, such as posting an agenda of discussion items in advance of the meeting and keeping to the agenda. Since commissioners are not in charge of Thursday’s agenda, they should avoid a quorum, Weinaug said.

Tickets for the event, at the Lied Center, are reserved for affiliated church congregations, but leftover seats can be filled by members of the public waiting in line starting at 6:35 p.m. The program will begin at 6:45 p.m.