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North Dakota AG says Arnegard violated open meeting law

ARNEGARD, N.D. - Arnegard violated state rules on public meetings when it failed to give notice of two meetings of its employment committee last year.

In an opinion issued Thursday, April 11, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote that the northwestern North Dakota city should have posted advance notice of the two meetings.

The city formed a committee to look at employment issues in October after a contentious city council meeting where video was played of a heated exchange between Mayor Virginia Elliot, City Auditor Juelie Bancroft and Police Chief Troy White Owl. The committee looked at the city’s policies for employees and at the issues that led up to the confrontation between the mayor and two of the city’s four employees.

It ended up recommending no further disciplinary action against any of the three, the Williston Herald reported.

Stenehjem wrote that White Owl had asked for the opinion about whether Arnegard had violated the law.

White Owl and Travis Bateman, the city’s other police officer, were both fired by the city in March, with Elliot casting the tie-breaking vote.

Days after that decision, Elliot survived a recall vote with 63 votes to her challenger, former mayor Jeffrey Kindel, getting 47.