65 Op. Att'y Gen. 166 (1976)
 
65 OAG 166  167  168

OPINION NO. OAG 60-76,

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

13 September 1976

Anti-Secrecy;
Open Meetings;
Newspapers;

Written request pursuant to
Section 19.84(1)(b), Stats., by news media
for notice of meetings of governmental body
should be filed with chief presiding officer
or his designee and separate written request
should be filed with each specific
governmental body.

JAMES L. HUSTON,
Managing Editor, Waukesha Freeman

Pursuant to Section 19.98, Stats., you
request to be advised whether the separate
but similar letters you have written to the
clerks of towns, villages, cities and school
districts in your circulation area are
sufficient to impose upon them an enforceable
obligation to notify you, according to
Section 19.84(1)(b), Stats., of all meetings
of all governmental bodies within the
jurisdiction of the respective town,
village, city or school district.

 
65 OAG 166  167  168

Your letter to a village clerk
states in part:

     By this letter, we are making a formal,
     written request under sub-chapter IV of
     Chapter 19 of Wisconsin Statutes to be
     notified of all meetings of government
     bodies within the jurisdiction of the
     Village of . .

     We're including in our request all
     meetings of the Village Board, the
     village's planning commission and all
     other standing or ad hoc committees or
     agencies, present or future, of the
     village or of the Village Board.

I am of the opinion that it does not create
an obligation to give notice except in those
cases where the chief presiding officer had
designated the clerk to whom your letter
was addressed as the person responsible
to give the public notice required by
Section 19.84(1), Stats., or where
the chief presiding officer or
his designee had actual notice
of such written request.

Section 19.84(1), Stats., provides in part:

19.84(1)  Public notice of all meetings of
          a governmental body shall be
          given in the following manner...

19.84(1)(b) By communication from the chief
            presiding officer of a
            governmental body or such
            person's designee to the public,
            to those news media who have
            filed a written request for such
            notice . . .

The statute requires that the communication
be given by the "chief presiding officer"
of a governmental body or such person's
designee.

It also requires that notice be given

     "to those news media who have filed
      a written request for such notice."

The statute does not state where such
written requests must be filed.

I am of the opinion that they must be filed
with the chief presiding officer or his
designee of an existing governmental body.

The specific governmental body should be
named and a separate written request should
be filed with the chief presiding officer
or his designee of each governmental body
from which notice is requested.

BCL:RJV


 
65 OAG 166  167  168