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State AG has it right: Taxpayers want to know who's applying

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  1. Freedom of Information
The University of North Dakota's Presidential Search Committee wants the State Board of Higher Education to lobby for weaker open meetings…

The University of North Dakota’s Presidential Search Committee wants the State Board of Higher Education to lobby for weaker open meetings and open records laws to aid the search for a new university president, the Grand Forks (N. Dak.) Herald reported [free registration required] this week. 

Committee members have complained that some potential candidates have declined consideration due to early publicity resulting from North Dakota’s open government laws.

Even if one were to make the unconvincing leap that some small number of otherwise desirable candidates bow out for fear of media attention, it suspends belief to think that weakening public accountability would leave anything less than scorched earth.

Fortunately state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem doesn’t suppport UND’s proposed solution. 

"Maybe some people are reluctant to apply (because of open records laws), but these are public jobs, paid for with taxpayer dollars," Stenehjem told the Herald.  "And the taxpayers want to know who’s applying."