Vermont PTV should be sanctioned for closed meetings, CPB IG finds

By Dru Sefton

CPB’s Inspector General has recommended that the corporation sanction Vermont Public Television in response to 22 open-meeting violations by VPT’s board dating from July 2011.

In the May 5 report, IG Mary Mitchelson said that while 17 of the meetings were closed for appropriate reasons, such as personnel matters, the station failed to provide written explanations for why the meetings were not open to the public.

The IG’s conclusions were based on interviews of board members who attended the meetings in question as well as an examination of documents detailing what business was transacted, the report said.

Following the IG’s recommendation, the decision on whether or how to penalize the station rests with CPB’s management. Michael Levy, e.v.p., said CPB will respond to the IG within 90 days. The IG’s office will review management’s proposed actions and may provide additional comments for its final report. Within 180 days of that report, VPT will receive notification of the outcome.

The findings mirrored VPT’s internal investigation, conducted by the board’s audit committee, that found the meetings in question were closed properly but that reasons were not provided. In February the VPT Board adopted the audit committee’s recommendations, which included a review of VPT’s compliance policies and tightening of open-meeting rules.

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