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Judge Rules Norman Violated Open Meetings Act

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A Cleveland County district judge today invalidated the Norman City Council’s decision to spend about $865,000 on financial oversight and social services instead of its police department.

The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by the Norman Fraternal Order of Police. One of the police union’s arguments was the city didn’t give citizens a good enough explanation about what would be decided in its June 16 meeting.

Judge Thomas Baldwin agreed with the union’s claim that the city violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.

Baldwin says the city’s announcement for its June meeting described a budget approval process, but it didn’t say they would be discussing whether to move funds away from any of its departments.

Back in June, the council said it would spend the funds on an alternative policing program to serve vulnerable residents and auditors who, in part, would review police overtime pay.

But the tradeoff meant eliminating nine unfilled police positions.

In a written statement, the City of Norman said it will appeal Baldwin's ruling.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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