Ruling reinstates lawsuit challenging Ohio township's discussions ahead of public meetings


LEBANON, Ohio — A lawsuit challenging a township’s practice of holding informal gatherings before official public meetings is headed back to a southwest Ohio court.

An Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals judge ruled that the lawsuit was dismissed prematurely by a Warren County court. He sent it back to resolve conflicting testimony on whether Clearcreek Township trustees are violating state open meetings law.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that township officials defend the practice of having informal gatherings in the administrator’s office ahead of the twice-monthly township meetings.

Township administrator Dennis Pickett says his office door is open as township trustees come in and out to prepare for the meetings.

The lawsuit filed by a township resident says the “pre-meeting meetings” are illegal because public business is discussed by a trustee majority.