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.