The Richland Public Facilities District Board on Monday agreed on a policy for releasing drafts of public documents after a Richland City Council member complained he didn't received documents being discussed at the meeting.
Richland Mayor Pro Tem Ed Revell serves as the city council's liaison to the facilities district board, and said at the meeting he hadn't been notified about a recent board retreat, and hadn't gotten an advance copy of a document laying out financial assumptions about the proposed Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.
Revell previously has complained that facilities district staff have been unresponsive to questions he submitted about the project.
He told district board members in June that he believed part of his role as council liaison was oversight. The board in response handed Revell a memorandum telling Revell that state law doesn't allow oversight by the city council because the facilities district is an independent taxing authority.
Revell on Monday said the agreements between the facilities district and the city council call for him to receive documents as a liaison.
"If it helps, I will get a letter from the mayor," Revell said.
Councilman Phil Lemley, the council's alternate liaison to the board, also did not receive the "draft pro forma" document.
Later in the meeting, facilities district board member Rick Jansons, also the Richland School Board president, said he believed that the document became public once it was sent to the facilities district board for discussion, and that he was surprised it hadn't been sent to the council liaisons.
"To my mind, it is a public document. It should be available," Jansons said. "I think it's a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act."
Facilities district CEO Kimberly Camp suggested the board distribute drafts that will be discussed in public meetings, but clearly label the documents as drafts so it's understood they haven't been adopted by the board and are subject to change.
Jansons and fellow board members Nick Ceto, Dan Boyd and Fred Raab all said they favored openness.
"I think we should throw it all open," Jansons said. "If they jump to the wrong conclusions, it's their problem. We need to be, I think, as open as possible."
The board didn't take a formal vote, but agreed documents will be distributed to the council liaisons and made available for the public at meetings.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org