Libby seeks ideas for improving transparency, accessibility

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If you have any ideas for how the City of Libby can improve its transparency and accessibility, the City Council wants to hear them.

The call for ideas coincides with Libby’s upcoming “Transparency in Government Week” from June 4 to June 8. It’s the first of four such annual events stipulated in an agreement the City reached last October to close a case in which Montana’s former Commissioner of Political Practices determined that state campaign finance laws were violated during Libby’s 2013 mayoral election.

The case — Magill v. Reintsma, City of Libby, et al. — arose after Arlen Magill of Libby filed a complaint in September 2014, originally against former City Attorney James Reintsma, alleging interference in the mayoral race between incumbent Doug Roll and Allen Olsen.

Upon review of the complaint, Jonathan Motl, the Commissioner of Political Practices at the time, added to the defendants the City of Libby, Doug Roll and five members of the 2013 Libby City Council — Robin Benson, Barbara Desch, Vicky Lawrence, Bill Bischoff and Peggy Williams.

The transparency week stipulation was part of a settlement proposed last July by Jeffrey Mangan, Montana’s current Commissioner of Political Practices.

“We are hopeful the ‘Transparency in Government’ week will assist in ensuring issues such as those that transpired do not happen again ... for the good of the community moving forward,” Mangan said in October.

City Council member Kristin Smith said she and council member Hugh Taylor “have identified several ways we can improve our transparency and the public’s access to government, but we’d like to hear from the public about their ideas for us to do that.”

Contact information for council members is listed at cityoflibby.com/city-council/ or can be found by calling City Hall at 406-293-2731.

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