Monday, March 02, 2015
Huff to auditors: We will ask the public if we should obey the law
One such instance was Huff's response to the auditors' recommendation that the Board of Education follow the law and reveal the results of certain votes that take place in closed session.
-"On January 12, 2012, the Board voted to begin negotiations for a land purchase. The final contract purchasing the land was not approved by the Board or disclosed in the open minutes."
-"On March 27, 2012, the Board voted and approved to sell a Franklin Technical Center built house. The district did not disclose the approval of this real estate sale in open minutes."
-"On April 21, 2014, the board voted and approved a settlement agreement with a vendor. The district did not make public the approval of the settlement agreement."
-"The Board did not provide final approval in open session to some contracts approved in closed session. These contracts included the Superintendent's contract and various construction contracts entered into after the May 22, 201l, tornado."
"The district will review procedures and practices currently in place with a citizens' panel to determine the best path going forward related to this recommendation. Historically, the district has released results of closed session publicly disclosable votes when requested by the public to satisfy Sunshine Law requirements. However, further discussion with our community on this topic is important to ensure we are consistent with reasonable community expectations."
In other words, another "community panel" almost totally handpicked by C. J. Huff to allow him to keep secret what he wants kept secret.
The auditors were not buying any of it.
"Public disclosure of votes taken and decisions made in closed meetings is a requirement under the Sunshine Law. Approval of settlements under Section 610.021(1) as well as purchase and sle of land under Section 610.021(2) require votes to be 'made public' upon final disposition or execution. The release of these votes only upon request does not satisfy the requirement of the statute that upon approval or execution the votes must be made public. Made public requires more than waiting for a request to be made. Furthermore, because the general public would not have sufficient information to know what occurred in closed session to make such a request, disclosure only upon request defies the intent of the statute."