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Questioning kept in the sunshine

Officials often catch grief — and deservedly so — for their shortcomings, but when an official, whether appointed or elected, does something right, it too frequently goes unmentioned.

With that in mind, we’d like to offer kudos to the Albany city attorney for an action that might seem minor to many, but was, in fact, good advice aimed at ensuring the commission complied with Georgia’s open meetings law.

As the City Commission was preparing to question suspended Municipal Court Judge Willie Weaver at its work session Tuesday before reinstating him to the bench, the board considered going into executive session and quizzing Weaver behind closed doors.

City Attorney Nathan Davis informed the commission that doing so would be a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law. As a result, the commissioners’ questions and Weaver’s responses were conducted in open session, as they should have been.

Those of us who have covered government agencies and boards over the years know that’s not always the case, that too often board attorneys have looked for ways to skirt the Georgia Sunshine Laws at the behest of their clients, who usually have a selfish reason for wanting something hidden from public view.

The decision to return Weaver to the bench might or might not be something you agree with, but we commend the city attorney and commission for arriving at the decision the right way.