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Question Submitted by: Mr. Jackson R. Jones, Chairman, Polygraph Examiners Board
1981 OK AG 315
Oklahoma Attorney General
Cite as: 1981 OK AG 315, __ __
¶0 The Attorney General has received your request for an official opinion, wherein you ask, in effect:
May an applicant for an intern polygraph examiner’s license obtain approval of his license application by hand-carrying his/her application individually to a majority of the Board and obtaining their approval, in order to begin the intern program on a temporary basis, subject to approval by the full Board at the next ensuing meeting of the Board? Does this procedure violate the Open Meeting Act?
¶1 The Polygraph Examiners Act is found at 59 O.S. 1451 – 59 O.S. 1476. Section 1463 provides for issuance of an internship license:
“1463. Internship license.
“A. Upon approval by the board, the secretary shall issue an internship license to a trainee provided he applies for such license and pays the required fee within ten (10) days prior to commencement of his internship….”
¶2 By the clear language of 59 O.S. 1463(A), Board approval is required for issuance of an internship license, and such approval must come prior to commencement of the internship. There is no provision in the Act for issuance of an internship license on a “temporary basis,” pending subsequent approval by the Board. As stated in Syllabus 3 of Lingo-Leeper Lumber Co. v. Carter, 161 Okl.5,17 P.2d 365 (1932):
“Public officers have and can exercise only such powers as are conferred upon them by law….”
¶3 An internship license cannot lawfully issue unless and until the license is approved by the Board in open meeting as an official action of the Board.
¶4 Since the Board has no authority to issue internship licenses on a temporary basis pending later Board approval, it is not necessary to answer your question as to whether the methodology employed to accomplish such unauthorized action violates the Open Meeting Act. However, you are referred to Attorney General Opinion No.81-069, which states that the Open Meeting Act (25 O.S. 301 (1977), et seq.) prohibits a single member of a public body from meeting privately with each of the other members to obtain their signatures on a document and use that document to take an action otherwise required to be taken in an open meeting.
¶5 It is, therefore, the official opinion of the Attorney General that finder 59 O.S. 1463 (1971), the Board of Polygraph Examiners has no authority to issue internship licenses on a temporary basis, pending later approval by the Board.
JAN ERIC CARTWRIGHT
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
FLOYD W. TAYLOR
FIRST ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL