They’ll be watching

Elected officials might want to sit up a little straighter, look more alert and speak more knowledgeably this year because someone new will be watching and taking notes.

The League of Women voters will hold a session this month to train people to observe public meetings.

League co-president Emily Ramsey said that members will observe Oak Harbor and Coupeville city councils along with Island County government.

Volunteers will attend meetings, take notes and report their findings to the League board along with the government entity. The training session will teach volunteers about the Open Public Meetings Act, parliamentary procedure and the role of the public in meetings.

She said volunteers will monitor officials to see how closely they follow parliamentary procedure and the open meetings laws. They will observe how well prepared officials are and how attentive they are during public meetings.

The training session takes place Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Island County Courthouse located at 1 NE Seventh St. in Coupeville, Room 116.

Ramsey said training observers was sparked by the general distrust people seem to have in their government. In particular, she cited the recent Coupeville election debates in which many people felt that decisions were a “done deal” before the public meeting was even held.

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