By B.A. Little, Reporter • email@example.com
JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. — Garry Morgan filed a complaint with the Jackson County District Attorney on June 19. It is his position that the Jackson County Commission violated the Open Meetings Act of the State of Alabama. The deliberative meeting with a quorum of the commission with our legislative delegation is a violation of the Code of Alabama 36-25A-1, Open Meetings Law, and Code of Alabama 11-3-8, County Commission Meeting Notice Requirements.
Jackson Blaze reached out to Mr. Morgan and he stated, “It is incumbent that our politicians, stewards of our government’s business, be transparent and open in their actions, particularly when attempting to raise taxes which will involve all citizens of Jackson County. We do not know exactly what was discussed and deliberated upon in the June 10 meeting with a quorum of the commissioners present with the Jackson County Legislative Delegation. The press was not notified nor was there a notification to the public of this secret meeting on June 10.”
Enforcement of the Open Meetings Law (ACCA Primer, page 41): “Ala. Code §36-25A-9(a) states that the Open Meetings Law “is designed and intended to hold members of governmental bodies, and the bodies themselves, accountable to the public for violations of [the law].” The enforcement provisions of the law provide the means to accomplish these goals. The law was amended in 2015, in part to strengthen and clarify some of the enforcement provisions of the law. See Act 2015-340.”
Jackson Blaze reached out to District Attorney Jason Pierce who did not have a comment at this time.
In the complaint to the DA, Mr. Morgan requested that the Jackson County District Attorney’s office bring an action, suit, injunction, to insure the Jackson County Commission does not hold secretive, deliberative sessions with the Jackson County Legislative Delegation when such issues involve raising taxes and will come before the deliberative body of the commission at a later date. The purpose of Alabama’s Open Meeting’s Law is to ensure a transparent, open government in their deliberations and motives. Particularly when an issue comes before the Commission and our local Legislative Delegation affecting all of the citizens of Jackson County in relation to raising tax revenue for the operations of our county. Additionally, I do not believe there is an official record of this meeting.
On or about June 10, 2020, the Jackson County Commission, with a quorum of commissioners present, Commission Chair Tim Guffey was absent, met with the Jackson County Legislative Delegation for the purpose of raising taxes in Jackson County Alabama. This was a Deliberative Session of the commission, the issue will come before the commission at a later date. The deliberative meeting is a violation of the Code of Alabama 36-25A-1, Open Meetings Law and Code of Alabama 11-3-8, County Commission Meeting Notice Requirements. Reference Facebook Commission Meeting Video on June 15, 2020, this video includes a listing of the items deliberated upon and the commissioner’s positions at the secret meeting on or about June 10, 2020, with the Legislative Delegation.
Jackson Blaze will continue to follow this story and the impact it will have on the meetings being published and open to the public.