Residents offer feedback on parkway plan

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation is one step closer to drafting its new action plan following a series of seven regional meetings.

All the world’s a stage: Broadcasting meetings a tough call for Waynesville

All the world’s a stage, Shakespeare wrote, and all the men and women merely players. But with the recent uptick in bad actors consistently providing misinformation to Waynesville’s Board of Aldermen, a proposal to increase transparency by broadcasting meetings got bogged down over concerns that the videos would simply end up as food for trolls.

Threats force Waynesville to consider meeting security measures

The Town of Waynesville may soon start subjecting public meeting attendees to metal detectors in some form or fashion, Town Manager Rob Hites announced during a meeting on Sept. 13, saying that the town was aware of what they deemed credible threats to elected officials.

Waynesville takes a look at board meeting procedures

Governing a small municipality is work enough, but add in unprecedented amounts of federal recovery funds that need to be appropriated and a strong undercurrent of residential development and the workload for Waynesville’s aldermen and planning board only gets bigger and bigger.

When town hall is empty: Boards debate merits of in-person, remote meetings

After a mass migration from boardrooms to cyberspace last spring, one by one Western North Carolina’s public bodies have transitioned back to in-person meetings — with the exception of Sylva’s town board. 

Haywood adopts new rules for electronic meetings

Of late, many businesses and individuals have been forced to re-evaluate how they do things, but municipal governments are also grappling with governing in the age of social distancing and the “stay home” orders part and parcel to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Public records requests shed light on closed sessions

In its role as government watchdog, The Smoky Mountain News submitted public record requests to county and municipal governments in our four-county coverage area asking for the minutes of all closed meetings held in 2018. While the governmental bodies responded with differing degrees of compliance, detail and responsiveness, the ultimate goal was to hold government accountable and keep the public’s business in the open.

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.

Closed sessions easily accessible in Jackson

Of all the local governments in The Smoky Mountain News’ coverage area, Jackson County has some of the most complete closed session minutes and arguably the easiest system for obtaining them. 

Detail varies in Sylva minutes

Of the nine closed-session discussions Sylva commissioners held last year, only three — all attorney-client privilege conversations related to an ongoing court case — are still sealed. 

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