CPB fines Vermont PBS $15,000 for open-meeting violations

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Vermont PBS headquarters in Colchester. CPB has issued a $15,000 fine to the station for violation of open-meeting laws. (Photo: Jack Morgan)

CPB has fined Vermont PBS $15,000 to penalize the station for a series of open-meeting violations that occurred since 2011.

The penalty comes after CPB’s Inspector General recommended sanctions against the station, formerly known as Vermont Public Television, in response to 22 instances of the station board closing meetings to the public without providing required explanations. Vermont PBS remains eligible for CPB grants.

“Vermont PBS is disappointed with this decision, and feels strongly that a financial penalty should not have been issued,” the station said in a statement. “Vermont PBS has never before encountered compliance issues, and the station has long-since posted all of the previously omitted meeting notices and voluntarily adopted a comprehensive set of compliance measures.” Interim CEO Charlie Smith said the station is “pleased to put this experience behind us.”

The station will pay its fine from income generated through license arrangements with radio and cellular providers so as not to dip into viewer contributions, Vermont PBS said in the statement.

Vermont PBS weathered several months of turmoil as a result of the open-meeting violations, including the resignations of board members. John King, station president during the controversy, left in April.

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