The latest rumor being spread about the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is that the Board members met in a closed executive session without staff or attorneys to discuss the need for change in the legal representation of the Board. According to the rumor, the decision was made to send the Board chairman to the Division of Professional Registration to request a change in attorneys. Such a meeting would have occurred at the September 22, 2017 Board meeting, or at an impromptu Board meeting between September 23rd and October 17th. The Board’s change in legal counsel began with the October 18th meeting.
The State Board’s website does not reflect any meeting notices between the dates of September 22nd and October 18th. Minutes of the September 22nd meeting are not available to reflect whether the Board members met in an executive session. There were no video cameras present during the September 22nd open session, and so it is doubtful any closed executive session was recorded. If the legal representation meeting was held subsequent to September, no notice was given. Apparently someone’s memory has grown fuzzy. Missouri’s Sunshine Law is intended for such lapses in memory. However, the January 13th letter described in our prior blog post states that Board members are barred from disclosing information discussed in closed sessions, and individuals who release such information may be fined $100,000. If accurate, does this mean the Board members cannot discuss what happened at the secret executive session or when it occurred? If so, the rumor might mean someone is taking a big risk in attempting to set the record straight. As for the veiled threat made in that letter against this author, we’ll take the safe route and make some open records requests. The question is how far back we have to go to determine when the Board’s memory lapses began and how many times the Sunshine Law has been broken.