Transparency is an essential element of open and democratic government. In Vermont, the primary means of providing transparency are the State’s open meeting law, 1 V.S.A. §§ 310-314, and the public records law, 1 V.S.A. §§ 315-320. These laws implement the command of Chapter I, Article 6 of the Vermont Constitution that officers of government are “trustees and servants” of the people and are “at all times, in a legal way, accountable to them.”
The Open Meeting Law clearly emphasizes the openness of and accessibility to government. It declares that “All meetings of a public body are declared to be open to the public at all times, except as provided in section 313 of this title [on executive sessions].” 1 V.S.A. § 312(a). The Open Meeting Law and its requirements are meant to empower the public to play an effective role as not only an active participant in government but also a check on it as well.
Every municipal board, council, commission and committees (legally defined as “public bodies”) of a municipality is required to comply with the Open Meeting Law. The Law applies when there is (1) a quorum of a public body; (2) involved in a discussion or taking action; and (3) the subject matter of the discussion is one over which the body has authority or responsibility.
We have prepared a video that will walk you through the Vermont Open Meeting Law. Each City Committee member must review the video.
The City of South Burlington has adopted a conflict of interest and ethical conduct policy, pursuant to state statute. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that the business of this municipality will be conducted in such a way that no public officer of the municipality will gain a personal or financial advantage from his or her work for the municipality, and so that the public trust in its officers will be perserved. It is also the intent of this policy to ensure that all decisions made by public officers are based on the best interests of the municipality.
The policy applies to all individuals elected or statutorily-appointed to perform executive, administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial functions of the City of South Burlington. This includes City Council members and all appointed committee members or trustees. As of the date of adoption of this policy, the City's public bodies are:
|City Council||Housing Trust Fund Commitee|
|Affordable Housing Committee||Library Board of Trustees|
|Board of Abatement||Natural Resources Committee|
|Board of Civil Authority||Pension Advisory Committee (PAC)|
|Economic Development Committee||Planning Commission|
|City Charter Committee||Public Art Selection Committee|
|Dog Park Committee||Recreation & Parks Committee|
|Development Review Board (DRB)||Energy Committee|
Please review the full policy.