Commissioners Invited to Attend IDOG Symposium

Mock News Writing Assignment

REXBURG  Madison County Commissioners received a personal invitation for an Open Meeting Workshop presented by Idahoans for Openness in Government (IDOG) at Friday’s County Commission meeting.

Matt Eichner, editor of the Rexburg Standard Journal, invited Madison County Commissioners to attend the symposium this Thursday in Rexburg. Other statewide seminars are scheduled this week in Hailey, Twin Falls and Fort Hall. Government agency employees, reporters from all media and interested citizens are also invited to attend.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will lead the conference, where Idaho’s key government laws – the Idaho Open Meeting Law and the Idaho Public Records Law – will be addressed. Additional presenters will include Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane and IDOG President Betsy Russell.

Eichner provided a detailed report from IDOG for each board member and explained that the meeting is an opportunity to learn what is covered and what is not by these important laws.

“It’s about helping local officials … and media understand the rules,” said Eichner.

As stated in the IDOG report, these workshops are recommended by the Office of the Attorney General, The Association of Idaho Cities, the Idaho Association of Counties and the Idaho Press Club. Wasden and IDOG have been holding the sessions around the state since 2004, and are funded in part by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Chairman Kimber Ricks said he would be unable to attend the seminar, due to a conflict in scheduling, but stressed the importance of attending to the committee members.

“We can’t be trained too well on open meetings,” Ricks said.

According to openidaho.org, IDOG is a broad-based, non-profit coalition for open government with a mission to promote open government and freedom of information. IDOG’s board includes people from inside and outside of government, the media, civic organizations and more.

“IDOG’s mission is to foster open government, supervised by an informed and engaged citizenry. We believe that we all benefit when the public, the media and government officials are fully aware of the public’s rights to access government information and observe the conduct of the public’s business,” says the website.

The seminar is co-sponsored by the Rexburg Standard Journal and the Post Register, and will be held in the conference room at the Development Center, 343 East 4th North, 2nd floor, at 6 p.m. Because space is limited, attendees are asked to RSVP to Matt Eichner, editor@uvsj.com, or (208) 356-5441.

The session is free and includes refreshments.

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