by Max Brantley
I see the state lottery commission met in secret yesterday with internal auditor Michael Hyde, who's raised some questions about Ernie P.'s operation. That's what the internal auditor is supposed to do, serve as an independent check on on an agency overseeing hundreds of millions in cash expenditures.
An article quoted an official as saying the meeting was about "communications." I think the meeting, based on all we know so far, likely was illegal. The state Freedom of Information Act is very specific about reasons for holding secret sessions and open-ended discussions on "communications" are not among them. The law says:
Executive sessions will be permitted only for the purpose of considering employment, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining,or resignation of any public officer or employee. The specific purpose of the executive session shall be announced in public before going into executive session.
Was the commission considering the hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of Hyde? 1) If so, it should have said so beforehand and 2) if not, it should have met in public.