David Cuillier and Frank LoMonte Comment on Public Meetings and NIL Public Records Requests
David Cuillier, director of the Brechner Freedom of Information Project, is quoted in “Closed-Door Sessions Endure at County, City Meetings” published on nogalesinternational.com on Oct. 13.
The article focuses on a closed-door meeting by Arizona’s Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors involving a legal discussion between the county and South32, the company behind the Hermosa mine in the Patagonia Mountains.
Cuillier encouraged government officials to practice transparency. “They should be as transparent as possible if they are going to maintain the trust of the electorate.”
He indicated that open meeting law allows for public officers to discuss certain personnel matters behind closed doors.
“That is intended to allow frank discussion and avoid embarrassing candidates, which is understandable,” said Cuillier. “Public officers can take the secrecy ‘too far’ – leaving constituents without a proper explanation as to why a candidate was hired.”
“Governing in the public eye is challenging – and ‘messier.’ But that’s what public are paid to do – make the tough decisions, be open about it, and take the heat!”
In addition, Cuillier and former Brechner Center Director Frank LoMonte were quoted in “How NIL is Transforming College Sports” published on deseret.com on Oct. 10.
The article focuses on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, known as NIL. Universities have different takes on public records laws and how they might apply to NIL. Many say the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits them from disclosing education records and the release of contracts would reveal private financial information.
“Using FERPA is a pretty weak argument,” said Cuillier, “This is a huge battle right now.”
The story also references an article by LoMonte that concluded that concealing NIL records does a disservice to the interests of the public, the athletes and college sports.
“It seems difficult to argue that fans have a legitimate interest in knowing whether Joe Quarterback has the stomach flu but not in whether Joe Quarterback is making $1 million to play for a state college,” said LoMonte.