Behind closed doors: Public records laws have exceptions

Woe to those public bodies that fail to comply with North Carolina’s sunshine laws; transparency underpins American democracy to the extent that there’s a whole chapter of complicated regulations in the N.C. General Statutes that define public records, public meetings, the availability of both and the very real penalties for violations.

Open government is part of who we are

Whereas the public bodies that administer the legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, and advisory functions of North Carolina and its political subdivisions exist solely to conduct the people’s business, it is the public policy of North Carolina that the hearings, deliberations, and actions of these bodies be conducted openly.

— NC General Statute 143-318.9 

When our local boards hold official meetings, they often end with a closed or “executive” session. The North Carolina Open Meetings law allows elected officials to deliberate secretly on a just few specific subjects, which are clearly outlined in the law.

Haywood’s last female commissioner says we need more women in government

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there should be at least 31,614 women in Haywood County, but judging by this year’s commission race that number is actually zero. 

Women’s municipal government group reorganizes

Representatives from the revamped North Carolina Women in Municipal Government visited Maggie Valley last weekend to recruit women from the towns of Western North Carolina. 

UNC School of Government prepares local leaders

“First, congratulations. Second, why are you here?” he asked.

The airy hotel conference room fell silent, nearly 200 eyeballs glancing up from tablets, phones, laptops, coffee, muffins and bacon. 

Showdown looming over Canton brunch ordinance

A highly anticipated public hearing that drew double the usual crowd to a Canton Town Board meeting wasn’t as contentious as it could have been, but the fight over a proposed Brunch Bill ordinance isn’t finished yet.

Brunch Bill stalls in Jackson

A planned vote on whether to approve Sunday morning alcohol sales was delayed Oct. 16 when the Jackson County Commissioners decided they should hold a formal public hearing before deciding the issue.

Spate of county resignations raises questions

Several well-known Haywood County employees in high-ranking positions have terminated their own employment over the past few months, leading to wild conjecture that the resignations are unusual, related or nefarious in nature.

Haywood manager Dove was valued public servant

Although Ira Dove’s tenure as Haywood County manager was relatively short, his long service to the county and the contributions he made as manager will ultimately leave him remembered as an integral piece of a rural government working to address larger issues.

Staying in the game: New policies could define Waynesville economic development for decades

After realizing small but consistent gains in local business development over the past few years, the town of Waynesville has recently undertaken several initiatives designed to strengthen the economic vitality of the town while also guiding that development in a direction acceptable to the community as a whole.

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