Council President Shay Lundvall apologizes for role in recent open meeting violation

Council President Shay Lundvall. (Official Photo/City of Gillette)

GILLETTE, Wyo.— City Council President Shay Lundvall apologized to his fellow councilmembers Tuesday night for sending them text messages that reportedly violated Wyoming open meetings law.

The violation, along with the messages themselves, was announced by the City of Gillette on Friday, April 1, after Councilman Nathan McLeland reported being part of a text conversation between Lundvall, himself, and two other members of the council creating an unlawful quorum.

Lundvall had reached out to the other members of the council after hearing from a resident concerned about the availability of the barns at the Cam-Plex and had notified Mayor Eric Hanson that he intended to disseminate information to other members of the council.

“I told him that was a great idea and to go ahead and do it,” Hanson explained during the council’s regular meeting on April 5. “In doing so, he texted three members of the city council in two different text groups, unfortunately not realizing that him being the fourth person in that group created a quorum.”

The text came less than 24 hours after the publication of a report regarding three years’ worth of other open meeting violations uncovered and reported by Attorneys Donna Murray and Michael O’Donnell. That report had provided a list of ways for the council to prevent future violations and praised the council for having already implemented most of the recommendations.

-- Advertisement – Story Continues Below --

“I would also like to first apologize to the council for sending those texts that included four people,” Lundvall read from a prepared statement. “Coming after an investigation, it was not my intent to spit in the face of this recent investigation or disregard any rules.”

His intention, Lundvall continued, was to streamline the process for a citizen to receive requested information while keeping the conversation open and flowing between other council members regarding the Cam-Plex.

“We all want transparency. We all want to rebuild the trust of the public,” Lundvall said. “There is a ton of work that requires input from each one of us. I believe it is time to get to work and stop worrying about the next political move. We need to work together to solve some very complex situations we all are going to be facing.”

Following the meeting, during which every member of the council went on the record objecting to the open meeting violation, Ward I resident Ben Decker took a moment during the public comment section to voice his opinion that McLeland had made unnecessary drama over a mistake.

“I’m glad this is all public, but let’s not let a minor setback to become a bigger problem than it is,” Decker said. “I appreciate what is being done to make this a better council. We haven’t seen this much progress towards a good local government in a long time. Keep up the good work, and hopefully, you can all help each other get this right.”