|Contact: Ray Leary
Citizens for Better Government of Beaufort County NC
|PO Box 954
Chocowinity, NC 27817
|Citizens for Better Government of Beaufort County NC|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizen Group Files Suit Against Beaufort County Board of Commissioners
Suit alleges multiple violations of state Open Meetings Law
Washington, NC, April 13, 2017: The Citizens for Better Government of Beaufort County
NC (“CBG”), with the assistance of the Civitas Institute, has filed suit against the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners. The suit alleges that the Board has, on numerous occasions, violated North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law. Specifically, the suit alleges that the Board has illegally entered into closed session on several occasions.
The Board closed its meetings to the public four times in 2015. A review of the redacted minutes of the closed sessions revealed discussions that should have taken place in view of the public.
CBG is represented by Jonathan Strange of The Strange Law Firm and Elliot Engstrom of Engstrom Law, PLLC.
“Decisions made in backrooms out of the public’s view are bad business,” said CBG Chairman Ray Leary. “The CBG originated as the “Stop the Jail Committee”. As we worked on that issue we came to realize that the problem was not so much the bad decision on the jail as it is the culture that has developed with the County Commission to make their decisions outside of their public meetings. This interferes with the Board’s accountability to the public.
We have tried on repeated occasions to get the Board to comply, without success. We believe, and North Carolina law requires, that the public’s business should be conducted in public. We are determined to make sure that the Board will conduct the public’s business in open meetings as required by North Carolina law.”
“We are honored to partner with the CBG in this important effort. Government that operates with transparency and citizen oversight is more likely to be thrifty and efficient in the use of public resources,” said Francis X. De Luca USMCR(Ret), President, Civitas Institute.
The suit seeks an injunction requiring the Board to comply with the Open Meetings Law.
“CBG is not seeking monetary damages from Beaufort County,” Leary said. “We are simply asking the commissioners to follow the statutes governing closed meetings and public records.”
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