By. Neil Williamson, President
The Free Enterprise Forum has learned on Monday, May 24th at 11:45 am the Greene County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting and signed a waiver that allowed the Board to waive public notice of the meeting.
Fueling local conspiracy theorists, the Supervisors also chose not to alert the media to the gathering or even make mention of their secret public meeting in their regularly scheduled meeting held the very next evening.
The items discussed in the secret public meeting included an amendment to the Greene County Code pertaining to regulation of private water and sewer systems, amendments to special use permit regulations relating to water and sewer utilities, amendment of definitions in the subdivision ordinance pertaining to private water and sewer systems and adoption of the Water and Sewer Service Area (WSSA).
The Free Enterprise Forum has obtained the documents from Monday’s meeting and has posted them to the web.
These are important public issues. Clearly the Supervisors felt the matter was urgent and could not wait the two weeks for standard public notification. While it appears Greene County may have met all the legal requirements to hold this secret public meeting, they should have done more.
- The Clerk has a small Board agenda distribution e-mail list, surely a quick e-mail could have been sent alerting these self identified stakeholders a special meeting had been called.
- The agenda for the meeting could have been posted to the website [it had not been posted as of 10:00 am 5/27].
- The public documents from the meeting could have been posted to the website [these had not been posted as of 10:00 am 5/27].
- At a minimum after holding the secret public meeting on Monday morning, when the Board met again on Tuesday evening, they could have let the public know of the meeting and issues that were discussed.
The public perception (and perhaps reality) is of a Board of Supervisors that is willing to hold secret public meetings to advance their agenda. The public should demand more transparency.
Just because it may be legal doesn’t make it right.
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org