Whitesburg KY
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Attorney General’s office says board violated law

The Letcher County Board of Education violated Kentucky’s Open Meetings Act by failing to give notice of the nature and purpose of a closed session at a May 7 meeting, the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General has concluded.

Asst. Attorney General James M. Herrick said in an opinion released Monday that Board Chairman Robert Kiser and board members Mendy Boggs and Terry Cornett violated the law when they voted to go behind closed doors to discuss “general personnel matters in secret.”

The Attorney General’s finding comes after Mountain Eagle reporter Sally Barto formally appealed the board’s decision to go into closed session without giving a specific reason as required by the Open Meetings Act.

“The Board did violate (the Act) by holding a closed session without giving sufficient notice of the purpose and reason for it,” wrote Herrick in a seven-page finding.

The personnel matters at issue at the May 7 meeting concerned the abolishing or combining of positions rather than disciplinary dismissals.

“Since disciplinary dismissals were apparently not discussed in the closed session on May 7, the exception under (the open meetings law) would not apply,” wrote Herrick. “Even if there were disciplinary dismissals considered, however, the Board would have violated the Open Meetings Act to the extent that it hald any closed discussions about aboloshing or combining positions, as these would have been ‘general personnel matters’ and should have been discussed in public.”

The school board can appeal the Attorney General’s finding in favor of The Mountain Eagle by initiating action in Letcher Circuit Court.

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