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.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Does Boone Town Council Want To Govern in Secret?

Even before the current issue where Boone wants to meet in "closed session" over the sales tax redistribution , the Boone town council was being exposed for the excessive number of secret meetings they were holding...According to an article in the  Watauga Democrat of March 15th (Click here) Boone has held substantially more meetings out of the public eye than either the similarly sized college town of Elizabeth City....and even more than the much larger Asheville:

"According to meeting minutes, the Elizabeth City Council discussed 17 agenda items in closed session last year, compared to 30 by the Asheville City Council and 78 in Boone."

Boone saw a rise in the total number of closed session agenda items from 2009 to 2012, with 40 in 2009, 62 in 2010, 65 in 2011 and 78 in 2012."
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As I understand the NC Open Meetings laws, only a few items - such as personnel matters, negotiations for

 land acquisitions, and atty/client meetings involving lawsuits, are exempt from the law that requires government meetings to be open to the public.

Why is Boone afraid for it's citizens to have access to these meetings involving their governance?

The law seems pretty clear to me....it prohibits a quorum of a governing body from meeting  in private except for the few exceptions listed. (and, contrary to what a few have posted on various blogs, it does NOT prevent any of the elected officials from discussing pending matters with constituents or interested parties on a one-on-one basis. How ridiculous would it be if a government official was prohibited from answering questions about pending issues unless it were done in a meeting with a quorum present? Obviously no formal action can be taken outside such a meeting but individual council members or commissioners certainly can have discussions with one another outside of formal meetings.)

Now the town wants the county to join with them to discuss the sales tax redistribution without the public having access to those discussions. BOC Chairman Nathan Miller has opined that any such meeting involving a quorum of county commissioners, would  violate those "Sunshine" laws. The County Attorney, "Four" Eggers was asked for an opinion -He has stated his opinion that such a meeting would indeed violate the law. His opinion can be read here (Thanks HCP) .

The town has refused to meet except in private. Andy Ball, town council member and potential mayoral candidate has offered his opinion that a meeting between town and county governing bodies could be held outside of the public view. Ball, without providing any specific authority has claimed that meeting with the county in closed session would be "legal under general statutes". Ball has also stated that the town has met in closed session to discuss the sales tax issue "because of the threat of legal action"....Miller says the county is not pursuing any legal action.

This raises the question - is the town of the opinion that anytime they perceive a threat of possible legal action, this is enough for them to hold their meeting in secret?

I don't claim expertise in the open meetings laws- but I would credit  the opinions  of the two attorneys involved over that of Andy Ball. It's time that the Town's apparent continuing violations of the Open Meeting laws be challenged!

Taxpayers have a right to know!




4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd say the reason you claim no expertise is because you literally have none.

guy faulkes said...

Anonymous, the thread exposes the corruption of the Town of Boone and its disdain for the rule of law. It illustrates how Boone not only ignores its own regulations, but state law as well. You give emphasis to the thread with your apparent defense of said corruption.

Where are your rebuttals to anything said in the thread?

NewGuy said...

Guy, "anonymous" is our local hater. She posts because of her personal animosity toward others.....not out of any ideological motive.

Best to just ignore her.

Johnny Rico said...

Nonymouse,

You're correct. Liberal Boone Town Council Members don't have any expertise. Thanks for clarifying that although you're stating the obvious which must define your personality in general (Can we say SIMPLETON?) LOL.

The Boone Town Council wants to hold meetings in secret. Why in the world would they not want to speak about ANY subject front and center in front of the public? Something to hide? Communism maybe? LOL. Tough questions, tough questions...

Your ole pal

Claire Lesman-Smith

Johnny Rico