After meeting with the Utah attorney general's office, Gov. Norm Bangerter decided the public should be allowed into hearings to determine why the Quail Creek dike gave way New Year's Eve.
"My position's always been that what you do has got to stand the light of day sometime," Bangerter said Wednesday.State officials had wanted to close hearings conducted by a state committee investigating the failure. However, attorneys and representatives of the Society of Professional Journalists protested, saying closed hearings would violate the state's open meetings law.
Attorney General Paul Van Dam said his office merely explained the law to Bangerter and state officials during meetings Tuesday and Wednesday without giving advice as to what to do.
"The general intent of the law is that these things need to be open," Van Dam said. "My preference is we need to be as open as we can be. You paint suspicions if you make things secretive."
Bangerter, who said he had always preferred the meetings be open, said committee members still may decide to close parts of the meetings if they need information on sensitive personnel matters.
"If they think there's something they have to close down, we'll discuss it with the attorney general to see if it complies with the open meetings law," Bangerter said.