Kentucky Attorney General Opinion: MSU Board of Regents Violated KY Open Meetings Law

Apr 17, 2013

Kentucky’s Attorney General says the Murray State Board of Regents violated Kentucky’s open meetings law when a quorum of the board attended a social gathering at the home of Regent Sharon Green on March 14th. Lexington Attorney Jim Deckard sought the opinion after board Chairman Constantine Curris, through an attorney, denied allegations of an illegal meeting.

In a response to Deckard's initial complaint, Curris said he would discuss what transpired at the social gathering at the board’s next meeting, but he wouldn’t declare all action taken by the board on March 15th null and void.   At that meeting, the board voted to accept recommended changes to MSU’s budget totaling more than $5-million in cuts and new revenue. The board also, under the guise of “other business", voted against extending President Randy Dunn a new contract.

The Attorney General’s opinion states the open meetings law was violated  because a quorum was present at the social gathering and university business was discussed. Chairman Curris confirmed to WKMS on March 16th that university business was discussed, but he said there was no vote counting or collusion among members present at the social gathering.  Curris added that a member of the board (Jack Rose) who wasn’t present at the gathering made the motion to extend Dunn a new contract.

The Attorney General’s opinion doesn’t require the board to declare the March 15th votes null and void. The opinion and board's action can be disputed in circuit court. It is unclear whether or not MSU will dispute the opinion, or whether Deckard will attempt to use the court to compel the board to declare all votes from March 15th null and void.

WKMS has an outstanding request for comment from Chairman Curris.