Legislation enacted by the State, July 2014, requires Open Government Training for all members of governing bodies (county council, planning commission, civil service commission, charter review commission, etc.) and for members of volunteer boards and committees who act on behalf of and/or take public comment for a governing body.
The goals of the law are to improve trust in government and help reduce liability through education about the principles of open government. The law requires training no later than 90 days after the oath of office or assumption of duties. There is also “refresher” training required at intervals of no more than four years to cover any updates on the laws. Whatcom County set a goal of having members (and staff who support them) of groups that follow the Open Public Meeting Act (RCW 42.30, RCW 42.32) receive this training during the first part of 2015. Training documentation is collected by staff members assigned to support the groups and submitted to Human Resources for centralized tracking.
The Whatcom County Council and the County Executive appoint dozens of volunteers to boards, commissions, and committees which serve our community and address many important issues. Each group and its members can pick the training option to best meet their needs. The time commitment is modest and the training is free through the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.