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Judge says cut to proposed Norman Police Department budget increase illegal, violation of Open Meetings Act

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Ashley Nicole McCray

Ashley Nicole McCray speaks to the Norman City Council during the special session on June 16.

A judge ruled the Norman City Council’s vote to reduce the police department’s proposed budget increase by $865,000 and reallocate the money was illegal, The Oklahoman first reported

Carter County Associate District Judge Thomas K. Baldwin deemed the council’s June 16 vote invalid because it was a “willful violation” of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act, according to The Oklahoman. Baldwin found language used in a required notice of the special meeting was “deceptively worded or materially obscured” the meeting’s purpose. 

“Any person who read the language used would not have understood that there would be a defunding, a reallocation or modification of any underlying departments’ budget,” Baldwin wrote, according to The Oklahoman. 

The Norman City Council first discussed changes in police funding in a June 9 meeting, but at that time, Mayor Breea Clark moved to delay discussion until June 16 so the budget could be revised. The $865,000 cut to the proposed police budget increase was passed by the council after an 11-hour meeting on June 16, with heated debate between community members calling for reform and those in support of the local police department.

Ari Fife is the OU Daily assistant news managing editor and a junior journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as the summer editor-in-chief, a senior news reporter and an SGA beat reporter.

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