Fort Smith Attorney Joey McCutchen announced on Tuesday he had filed
another lawsuit on behalf of Fort Smith resident Bruce Wade.

The suit alleges a violation of the open meeting provisions of the
Arkansas Freedom of Information Act connection with an Audit Advisory
Committee meeting held on October 4, 2017.

The meeting was held with no advance notice being given to the media,
as is required by the Freedom of Information Act.

“This was a very important meeting in which business regarding the
River Valley Sports Complex and an audit of certain police department
functions were discussed,” said McCutchen. “Arkansas law is clear that
a Committee of the Board of Directors, such as the Audit Advisory Committee,
cannot hold a meeting without giving advance notice to the
media.  The media is intended to serve as a representative of the
public at the meeting.”

McCutchen continued that “You can’t have a meeting without proper
notice or it’s just like holding a secret meeting.”

Information from the meeting, first released by another regional news
website, implied that there were “discrepancies” concerning “buy
money” used by undercover officers to make drug purchases in the course
of investigations.

Also, the four directors mentioned by McCutchen in the lawsuit were
all identified as “members” of the committee when only two are allowed
on the committee by city ordinance. Three of those directors were
named in previous FOIA lawsuits filed by McCutchen.

The meeting was not listed on the city calendar for October 4 and
Inside Fort Smith have uncovered at least thee media sources that say
they did not receive notification as required by law.

See city calender (October 4)  HERE:
http://www.fortsmithar.gov/index.php/city-calendar#year=2017&month=10&day=10&view=month

Wade’s suit seeks that the Circuit Court declare that the meeting was
improper and enjoining the City of Fort Smith from holding further
Committee meetings without notice as required by the Freedom of
Information Act.

McCutchen concluded by stating, “How many times is this going to
happen before the City learns to follow the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act.  All we are asking for is something very
simple—follow the law!”

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