Better Governing Now » Beaufort County Commissioners Possibly Conducted an Illegal Meeting to Hire New Manager

 

Beaufort County Commissioners Possibly Conducted an Illegal Meeting to Hire New Manager


    Beaufort County's board of county commissioners may have held an illegal meeting to hire a new county manager, current Washington City Manager Brian Alligood. The meeting was held earlier in the week, let's say Tuesday, and crafted as a County Manager Appointment Committee Meeting, which would only be advisory at best. Instead, rather than discuss the various applicants, the 4 county commissioners, who could be at the called committee meeting, elected to take a proper vote, and extended to the future former City Manager an invitation to manage the county.

    Now, no one of present company, especially this former county commissioner, has any problem with the future former city manager having a crack at managing the county; my problem as a Beaufort County citizen, who once represented people like me for over 18 years, and is now a reluctant member of the local media, knows very well how these issues should properly be handled, and this was not it, not by a long shot.

    Illegal meeting?

    Possibly on two levels: First, not all of the county commissioners were notified that there would be a hastily called Special Called Meeting, where there would be a possible vote on an extremely critical issue of the management of the county - Commissioner Hood Richardson was not informed that there would be a Special Called Meeting - a voting meeting - only the aforementioned committee meeting ... to discuss, not act. Second, and this is where they may have really screwed up the most: All of the media was not notified, which makes a hastily called, misrepresented meeting a meeting that would be poorly attended by the media, the public, even the commissioners - only 4 showed up - just enough for an impromptu quorum.
County Commissioner Hood Richardson gets a kick out of governing, even when he is not invited: Above.     photo by Stan Deatherage

    You see, that is the nature of the public meeting, where the People's business is conducted, by the People's representatives, all of their representatives. The meetings are well publicized so the public will know in advance when and where they will be held, and the media is notified and given advance materials should any be available. This is just the way it is done; not my rules, just the propriety of public meetings for public government in all of North Carolina, and while I can not quote verse and statute of the Open Meetings Law, I do know something about propriety - it is my life's understanding of this life.

    So, these county commissioners 'screwed the pooch', and they did it in a ragged, weird way that will be remembered, and further considered, and further reported until this never happens again. What happened this week with these few 'insider commissioners' appointing the county's manager, outside of the purview of all the commissioners, most of the media, and many of the public was bad governing at its most ignoble best. If left untended by what is left of the principled media, it will fester, and it will be practiced yet again, and that would be untenable.

    It is often repeated that 'sunshine is the best antiseptic' in regards to the open meeting provision of the public meeting law. Here in Beaufort County, the bad politics of wrong governing practices has made our community dirty, actually an embarrassment - not the fake embarrassment of shallow citizens as they pathetically whine over the real argument of rightful representation, but the embarrassment of impropriety, dirty dumb deeds that just will not go away. Once the deed is done ... you know ... it always takes more than antiseptic to clean it for enough of the People.

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