This blog,originally founded by Blogger, who is listed in Marquis Who's Who and is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boone to have another secret meeting tonight re sales tax issue.

"Liticaphobic" - our word of the day!


According to the town's website, the town council will meet again tonight and then go into closed session to discuss certain matters - including:

"B. Legal Advice – To consult with the Town Attorney in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body, which privilege is hereby acknowledged, to consider and give instructions concerning the handling or settlement of threatened judicial and administrative actions by the Watauga County Commission Chairman against the Town.
" (from their agenda)

Keep in mind that County BOC Chariman Nathan Miller has stated that he has no intent to take "legal action" against the town. Nontheless, the town keeps referring to the sales tax issue as "a threat from the
 county to take legal action" !

Apparently the town is of the opinion that all they need to do in order to circumvent the NC Open Meetings Law is to perceive a threat of legal action. If that is the case, then the open meetings law is worthless! If all a governing body has to do is to suggest that something they do "might" result in "legal action" - then all bets are off and they can meet in secret.
 

23 comments:

Reader said...

Why does the state not require a digital recording of closed sessions? I think they have to take minutes or do they? Has there been that many personnel, real estate transactions, active or pending litigations to have so many closed meetings?

NewGuy said...



Reader...yes, they do keep minutes which must be released after a certain time period. And yes, Boone does have what seems to be an inordinate amount of closed meetings. To be fair, they have had some real estate matters such as the Movie Theater, the Post Office, etc....and, they certainly have had their share of REAL lawsuits.( They have had many meetings over their lawsuit with Phil Templeton when they decided that they wouldn't let him build a medical facility on a lot ZONED for that purpose...they changed the rules after he announced his plans...and, they have been involved in appeals and rehearings ever since. Every time the case gets to a higher court, the court finds another thing Boone did wrong and remands it back to begin again. While common sense would seem to indicate that they should allow a developer to build what has been zoned for - this particular lot was near the mayors house. You can do the math!(It would be interesting to know what the town has spent on this one lawsuit alone).

In the matter of the sales tax distribution, it's difficult for me to understand why they won't meet in a public session. There is clearly no lawsuit pending; and their probably isn't one likely - at least from the county! Nathan Miller has said that their is no intent at this point to engage in legal action against the town.

Boone seems to like to meet in private - and, it seems that as long as they can claim even the POSSIBILITY of a lawsuit, they will consider that as an exception to the Open Meeting laws.

Apparently, they asked again today for a private meeting with the county - the county responded that they would ONLY MEET IN A PUBLIC MEETING - and Boone responded AGAIN with a request for "private" mediation.

It's getting a little like that movie "Ground Hog Day

NewGuy said...

I should have mentioned that the newest exchange of letters between Boone and Watauga County can be found on GoBLueRidge.NET

guy faulkes said...

They have to keep minutes, but not digital recordings or verbatim accounts of what happened. The minutes are supposed to be complete,but the requirement could be met by saying "the meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M.those present were thus and so. We talked about the weather and decided to sue Whoshewahtsus. The meeting adjourned at 10:00 P.M."

They then have to approve the minutes at a later date. That is the end of it. There is no definition of complete to my knowledge.

Most minutes of council meetings are heavily biased to favor the goal of the council in case these minutes were ever to be subpenaed for legal purposes, be they of closed meetings or not.

NewGuy said...

Is it possible that Boone is holding all these "closed sessions" in order to plan a lawsuit of their own against the county?

They keep pushing the position that they are meeting because of a "threat" of a lawsuit by Nathan Miller. Miller has publicly stated that he has no intention of filing any such suit - yet, the town keeps holding their secret meetings on the topic.

I'm starting to wonder if they don't plan a suit of their own in an effort to stop the sales tax redistribution.

Reader said...

Who's advising them, the attorney or the town manager...or both? The commissioners need to hold their ground on this one. The town can sell a few properties to raise what they'll lose...starting with the theatre, then the post office...and the remainder of whatever they've purchased in secret that we don't know about.

The closed meetings, can they be investigated by the State of NC?

NewGuy said...

Reader, we don't know who is advising whom! They meet in secret "closed session" in order for the citizens to be kept in the dark! They justify their "right" to meet in private by claiming there is a potential "legal action" threatened by the county! As I said previously, if all that is necessary to hold a closed meeting is that they can claim the possibility of a legal action, then they could hold all their meetings in private. Surely someone, somewhere, somehow COULD disagree with anything they did and conceivably take "legal action".

The county seems to be taking the position that they should meet PUBLICLY whenever and wherever the circumstances don't actually REQUIRE them not to....such as a "real" lawsuit; negotiations for a contract, etc. The town, on the other hand, looks for excuses to make everything private.

Anonymous said...

I believe the meeting should be open but Nathan Miller did threaten to sue the town. I heard him myself on the radio.

NewGuy said...

Miller did state early on that they would "explore" legal options but has since said that they are not pursuing any. I think the question should be "what 'threat' of legal action should be required in order to justify a closed session?"{.

If it is only the suggestion that s party is "considering" legal action, or "exploring options" for legal action - is that enough to trigger an exception to the states Open Meeting laws? If so, the laws are of no real value since all one has to do is suggest that another party "might" pursue legal action.

Following his statement that the county might "consider" legal action....Miller has several times stated that none is contemplated.


From March 26 Article, HCP....

"After the Boone Town Council passed the multi-family housing regulations, commissioners noted that it was researching the possibility of combating the regulations through legal means and also looking at other ways to gain leverage with the Town of Boone.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Miller said the county was “not pursing” any legal action."

Johnny Rico said...

Looks like the liberal Town of Boone is finally getting a dose of what it deserves from the Watauga County Commissioners. I've been down on the Watauga County Commissioners for a couple years now, however what they are doing to the Town of Boone is EXACTLY what put them in power in the first place. It's about time! We elected you to fight, tooth and nail fight, every inch of the way. You may have finally realized that.

Support for the Watauga County Commissioners will increase exponentially if they continue to fight like this. Great job Commissioners. We'll (Conservatives) will be watching to see if this is a one time anomaly or the beginning of something else. We hope it's the first in a long series of fighting on your part to put power in the hands of where it belongs - in the hands of the people.

Here's some other things the Watauga County Commission should fight for:

1. Right to hunt, fish, and trap in the state of NC (we want you to contact the state legislatures to get this done).
2. Remove metal detectors from Watauga County Courthouse
3. Return area fire departments and rescue into volunteer units.
4. Do away with zoning laws in Watauga County
5. Press lawmakers to vote AGAINST the Grandfather Mountain Scenic Area Designation.

The fact you are fighting out in the open with Boone Town Council liberal socialist sheep is a bright point. Go ahead and turn the flood lights on and pound away across all fronts. Do that and you won't have to worry about being re-elected - it will be a landslide in your favor.

Johnny Rico

Gary Shepard

NewGuy said...

According to Steve Frank's report this morning - http://www.goblueridge.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19740%3Aanother-letter-pending-in-old-whs-dispute&catid=1&Itemid=157

the Town of Boone is once again asking for a closed session meeting with the county because "with a lawsuit pending from the county, an open session was not an option for the town..."

Ridiculous. There is no lawsuit "pending" unless the town has one planned! And, even if there were, the "closed session" provisions don't prohibit an open meeting - they ALLOW one under certain circumstances! There is no reason that an open meeting can't be held - the town doesn't need to discuss their legal strategies at any such meeting!

Why is the town so afraid of it's citizens observing them in action?

Anonymous said...

Johnny,
Did you know that the hero county commissioners unanimously approved a resolution banning Sunday hunting in Watauga County? Stings don't it.

guy faulkes said...

A lawsuit is not pending until it is filed. There is always a possibility of a lawsuit. One could sue the Pope for being pious. That does not mean it is going to happen.

Grabbing a straws in this manner is the Boone attorney's trademark.

Anonymous said...

Two or three? of the Council members stated that Nathan Miller called them and threatened legal action. I can see both sides on this whole issue, but I can also see why Boone would want to mediate in a closed meeting in light of the lawsuit threats.

Anonymous said...

The Town's statement reads "The basis for mediation in closed session is based on the County’s threat to sue the Town. There was an explicit threat of a lawsuit by County
Commissioner Miller which was printed in the Watauga Democrat
and the High Country Press, reported on WATA on April 15, 2013 and repeated to two town council members, as well as the Town Attorney."

NewGuy said...

You keep making the same point anonymous. And, as I responded earlier, "Miller did state early on that they would "explore" legal options but has since said that they are not pursuing any. I think the question should be "what 'threat' of legal action should be required in order to justify a closed session?"

And how does it make sense that they want to meet in private to discuss their "legal strategy" if they are willing to discuss in in front of the people they claim are going to sue them? Wouldn't you think the reason for secrecy would be so that the "other side" wouldn't know your strategy? Boone is willing to discuss it with the "other side" but not in front of the voters.

Guy Faulkes is right - Boone could hold every single town council meeting in private under their theory that it "might" result in a lawsuit.

NewGuy said...

Anon may be taking her cue from the Town of Boone who keeps writing the same "we wanna meet in private" letter over and over and over and over again!

Boone: "We wanna meet in private"
County:..."No, that would be illegal, public meeting only."
Boone:" But we wanna meet in private"
County: "No, public meeting only"
Boone: "But, we wanna meet in private".
County: "No, public meeting only".
Boone: "But, we wanna meet in private"..

Geeze......county should just respond..."No, we've made our position clear. If we change our mind we will let you know. Have a good day."

BooneDoug said...

Johnny Rico, I have to ask, Whats the concern with having paid firefighters?

Johnny Rico said...

Nonymouse,

Please cite when and where County Commissioners signed a resolution banning Sunday Hunting. I'd like to see that one or are you spouting nonsense again? LOL!!

Your ole pal

Johnny Rico

Johnny Rico said...

BooneDoug,

The concern is that paid, full time firefighters are an unneeded luxury. A couple reasons. One, very few Watauga County houses burn anymore. Firefighters therefore, are reduced to safety programs and sitting around the firehouse waiting for a call that never comes. When a house does burn, volunteer firefighters have demonstrated the propensity to react to emergency situations in a manner that negates the need for a fully paid firefighter to waste taxpayer money. I remember when Watauga County had all volunteer firefighters, and I never heard a complaint they did a bad job. It was only after 9/11 that counties became flush with taxpayer money and started the full time firefighter nonsense (along with HUGE, expensive expansions of fire departments). We need to ban full time fire departments and revert to the tried and true volunteer firefighter who has done such a great job for 2 centuries.

In addition, it has become the norm for a full scale response, including fire trucks, to take place for run of the mill, mundane calls for service. This is simply job security for fire fighters not actively engaged in fighting fires. No need to waste taxpayer money on shortness of breath. When public service starts injecting themselves as a mandatory commodity into the everyday workings of society, you can bet taxpayer money is being wasted on a grand scale. Pretty soon it will be mandatory that taxpayer start paying for these mandatory fire-fighter dispatches.

Anonymous said...

It was added to the agenda before the meeting. Call the county offices for confirmation.

guy faulkes said...

Anonymous said...

It was added to the agenda before the meeting. Call the county offices for confirmation.

Link, please.

Johnny Rico said...

I see everyone agrees that volunteer fire-fighters are a wise use of my hard earned taxpayer dollar and that full time fire fighters are an unneeded luxury. Great job folks.

Nancy Pacuale