Saturday, February 7, 2015

More closed sessions for Davidson's Town Board?

Davidson's Board of Commissioners will head back into closed session during the "Pre-Meeting" before Tuesday's regular monthly meeting at 6pm.  See full agenda here.  This will be after the Board met for nearly three hours in closed session before canceling their last public work session on 1/27.

Over the past 6 months, Davidson's Board of Commissioners has made going into closed session the rule rather than the exception.  Over the course of 12 meetings dates covering the monthly regular meetings and work sessions, the Board has gone into closed session 10 times.

The Board has had a lot on its plate recently under categories that could be discussed in closed session away from the prying eyes of the media and the public.  However, just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should.

State law provides for very defined exceptions that allow closed meetings for elected officials.  Generally they fall into the classifications of personnel issues, real-estate dealings, and legal issues covered by attorney client privilege.  Policy discussions do not qualify.  With Davidson involved in multiple lawsuits it's possible that all of these closed sessions are covered by these exceptions, but it's also likely that in these discussions policy discussions could take place.

In years past, the Board had used the tactic of meeting in small groups with the Town Manager to avoid the State open meetings laws.  We commended the new Board when it got rid of that practice as a step towards more open and transparent government.

The furry of closed meetings seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

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