November 13th, 2012

The Public Land Development Corp. made a deliberate decision on Tuesday to allow only two of its five board members to hear public testimony on the latest draft of administrative rules.

William Aila, the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, who serves on the board, said the PLDC received a verbal opinion from the state Office of Information Practices that all board members could attend the meeting without violating the state’s open meetings law. The law generally prohibits more than two board members from discussing matters relating to official board business outside of board meetings.

But Aila said a PLDC attorney cautioned against allowing more than two board members to attend the meeting, because someone could later allege that the administrative rules were adopted improperly. Several activists have threatened lawsuits against the PLDC.

The public hearing on Tuesday, which lasted nearly four hours, was to hear testimony on administrative rules. It was not a PLDC board meeting.

“In an abundance of caution, we decided that we would just have no more than two members here,” Aila said.

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