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Steve Topaz's letter alleges St. Helens City Council broke meetings law; amends complaint to state agency

St. Helens City Councilor Steve Topaz filed a revised complaint with the Oregon Government Ethics TopazCommission against the St. Helens City Council and its individual members earlier this month.

Topaz, the most freshman member of the council, and his lawyer, Philip Griffin of the Scappoose practice Clarke Griffin LLC, filed a letter of complaint with the ethics commission on Aug. 20, alleging the council violated state public meetings law when it conducted an executive session meeting at the offices of Maul Foster Alongi, an environmental consulting agency, in Portland in May.

In the complaint letter, Topaz and Griffin included as an exhibit a copy of the agenda that was handed out during the May meeting.

The ethics commission issued a letter of no action in the case after stating that the agenda, which included the Maul Foster Alongi logo at the top, indicated the meeting was "convened by a private firm and not by the St. Helens City Council."

The meeting in question had been publicly noticed by the city of St. Helens as an executive session and was later acknowledged by city officials, including the mayor, councilors and city administrator, to be a meeting of the City Council, not a private firm.

Topaz noted that after reviewing the letter issued by the ethics commission he revised his complaint to include the names of the individual City Council members which was suggested to him by the ethics commission in the no complaint letter, and resubmitted his complaint Wednesday, Aug. 21.

A representative at the ethics commission confirmed that a complaint had been received, opened, and was in the preliminary review stage and therefore confidential.


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