Do we have a right to know in the Village of Lake Orion?

At the July 24, 2023 meeting, the Village of Lake Orion council unanimously approved allowing summary minutes for meetings that only give the motion and vote, the minimum required by law. It apparently takes too much of the clerk’s time to do full minutes, ignoring the fact that is what the village clerk has been doing for years.
The clerk stated that while the meetings are recorded by OrionONTV, she didn’t know how long they retain the recordings (two years per ONTV’s policy) and the village recording and retention policy was not given.
She also failed to mention that special meetings of the council are rarely recorded. There have been 41 of those for the council and DDA since January of 2022.
It seems the council wants no record of why things are done.
Related to this is that draft meeting minutes are never listed on the village website and final minutes are often not posted until a month or more after the decisions are made. Michigan law requires draft meeting minutes be available eight business days after the meeting and final minutes five business days after they are approved.
Then we have the closed sessions of the council and DDA where the public is not allowed to know what is being discussed, what is said, and often not allowed to know what decisions were made. Why would we want to know that? We are also not allowed to know what we are paying the village attorney to do.
The intent of Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act is very clear:
“It is the public policy of this state that all persons…are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act. The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.”
Unless you live in the Village of Lake Orion.

Cory Johnston
Village of Lake Orion

One response to “Do we have a right to know in the Village of Lake Orion?”

  1. While there was no known discussion of minutes for the Planning Commission and other village entities, the Village website calendar has a Planning Commission meeting listed on Monday, August 4 but no agenda or meeting information. There are no minutes posted for the meeting held on July 17. This is how the village keeps the public informed and involved.

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