Oklahoma Turnpike Board Changes Meeting Format To Enhance Transparency

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) board has instituted a change in the way it conducts business according to an entry in the agenda of its April 4 board meeting (at PDF page 2). Tim Gatz, OTA executive director and state transportation secretary, made the announcement that, effective immediately, the board won’t hold “separately scheduled” Finance Committee or  Engineering and Construction Committee sessions before its regular, plenary meetings  “so the public can better witness the discussion and interaction between the Board and OTA’s staff on items presented to the Board for review and possible approval. The OTA staff and consultant presentations and reports will be moved to and become a part of the Regular Meeting. All of the important Board Member questions and discussion related to such matters, which previously occurred during the committee meetings, will now take place during the Regular Meetings. These committee meetings where items were discussed and debated with staff or consultants, but no actual decisions [were] made, were always open to the public.” Gatz indicated that the intent of the format change is to “better serve the citizens of Oklahoma and promote greater transparency in the transaction of OTA business.”