Closed meeting appears to violate Open Meetings Act
by Eric Snyder --
Apr 05, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cadiz Personnel Committee met behind closed doors last week for an hour in what appears to be a violation of the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.

The committee gathered on March 29 to discuss what Mayor Lyn Bailey later characterized as “general” personnel issues. The meeting was closed to the public and press.

Kentucky Revised Statute 61.810, which lists exemptions to open meetings, reads that: “Discussions or hearings which might lead to the appointment, discipline, or dismissal of an individual employee” may be discussed in private. The statute continues, however, that “this exception shall not be interpreted to permit discussion of general personnel matters in secret.”

According to “Your Duty Under the Law,” an open-meetings briefing dispersed to public officials in September by the office of Attorney General Greg Stumbo, bodies must state whether personnel discussions will pertain to “either the appointment of, the dismissal of, or the discipline of [an] individual employee,” whom they do not have to cite by name.

The meeting’s agenda, which was sent to local media in advance of the meeting, says the session was “discuss [a] personnel issue.” After the meeting, Mayor Bailey and Chairman Jim Ricks declined to cite an open-meetings exemption that allowed the committee to meet in executive session.

According to Stumbo’s briefing, such clarification is required by law to “enable the public to assess the propriety of the agency’s actions.”

Ricks, however, did elaborate on the purpose of the meeting, saying the committee discussed two vacancies that would be created in the city’s ranks should Chief of Police and City Administrator Hollis Alexander be successful in his election bid for County-Judge Executive.

Ricks noted that the vacancies would affect many city employees because of the wide array of responsibilities now assumed by Alexander.

“That affects everybody in the city,” he said.

Ricks also said no potential replacements had been suggested, nor was the committee considering recommending to Cadiz City Council that a replacement be found and put in place before any elections are held.

“Nobody is trying to cut his throat,” Ricks said. “Hollis has done an excellent job.”

When asked why the meeting was classified as an executive session, Ricks said, “Well, basically I don’t know.”

For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.
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