The Alamance County Board of Commissioners fired Alamance County Attorney Clyde Albright by a vote in closed session on Monday, Oct. 4.
The North Carolina Open Meetings Law specifically prohibits elected bodies from taking final action on employment hiring or firing in closed session.
The Open Meetings Law does allow public bodies to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters. However, the law states, “Final action making an appointment or discharge or removal by a public body having final authority for the appointment or discharge or removal shall be taken in an open meeting.”
Albright, who before accepting the job of assistant Alamance County attorney in 2007 was an assistant Greensboro city attorney, was not informed of his dismissal until he reported for work on Wednesday, Oct. 6. He had been Alamance County attorney since being promoted to that position in 2013.
In an interview with The Alamance News, Albright said that he planned to challenge his dismissal on the grounds that it was illegal to take the vote in closed session and also that age discrimination was involved in the decision.
On Monday, Oct. 11, the Alamance County Board of Commissioners doubled down on their illegal dismissal of Albright by voting in open session to dismiss Albright as of Oct. 6, the date he had been dismissed in the closed session in violation of the North Carolina Open Meetings Law. The public vote to fire Albright was 4-0 with one commissioner absent. It is unknown what the vote was in closed session since that has not been released.
According to The Alamance News, the Board of Commissioners was being advised during the closed session where Albright was dismissed by an attorney from the law firm Teague, Campbell, Dennis & Gorham, and a member of that law firm has been retained to serve as interim county attorney.
At the Monday, Oct. 11 meeting the commissioners reportedly gave no reason for firing Albright or for not taking the vote to fire him in open session as required by North Carolina state statute.
Albright is a long time resident of Guilford County.
(Photo courtesy of The Alamance News.)