Vermont Public Television federal funding threatened
BURLINGTON — Vermont Public Television is warding off cuts to its federal funding after directors acknowledged holding closed-door meetings with no public notice.
An anonymous complaint was lodged against the television station in December, prompting the federal Corporation for Public Broadcasting to launch an inquiry.
The station is not allowed to spend any of the approximately $1 million it receives annually until the matter is resolved, the Burlington Free Press reports.
The federal grant amounts to about 16 percent of the station’s operating budget.
The station’s board of directors said last week that the meetings were about personnel matters.
After the complaint came to light, the television station told the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that it could no longer certify that it was in compliance with the open meetings policy.
“It’s perfectly OK to have a closed meeting for reasons that are an exception to the open meeting policy,” VPT Audit Committee Chairman Thomas Pelletier told the newspaper after a meeting Friday at the Vermont Public Television studios in Colchester. “The issue that is being reviewed very thoroughly is, did we provide proper notice at the conclusion of those meetings? ... On occasion, we failed to provide that post-meeting notice.”
The board is allowed to meet in private about “matters relating to individual employees,” litigation and other issues, according to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting open-meeting policy, but the board must release a statement afterward explaining why the meeting was closed.
The full board of directors is expected to address the issue at a meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. today at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington.
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