In November 2023, the Guilford County Audit Committee called a special meeting to go behind closed doors and discuss a personnel issue regarding the county’s finances with the county attorney.

On Monday, Feb. 26 of this year, the Audit Committee called another special meeting – again to consult with the county attorney.

As the Rhino Times wrote in November, special closed Audit Committee meetings are almost never a good thing.  State law does permit government bodies to go behind closed doors to, say, select someone to receive a special honor at an upcoming event without spoiling the surprise.

However, that doesn’t involve consulting with the county attorney – as both the closed meeting in November and the coming closed session do.

So, on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 10 a.m., the Audit Committee will meet behind closed doors on the second floor of the Old County Court House in downtown Greensboro.  By law, the committee must begin the meeting in open session and then vote to go into closed session. The committee must then, also by law, come out of closed session and vote to adjourn in public.

When the Audit Committee meets in the open, anyone can come watch.  In the normal course of business, in open session, the committee does things like hear reports from auditors on the state of the county’s finances or discuss which auditing firm to hire.  Closed sessions may involve things like problems with county employees – for instance, if the auditors find an employee stealing from the county.

 The reason for the coming closed session this week is not known, nor is it known if there is a connection between this meeting and the one held in November.  It’s highly unusual for the Guilford County Audit Committee to call a special closed session meeting, much less call two in a four-month period.

By law, the committee must state the reason for a closed session, but the participants do not have to reveal anything else about the discussion other than the time and location.  In this case, “The purpose of the committee meeting is to enter into closed session, pursuant to [North Carolina General Statutes] for the purpose of consulting with the County Attorney.”

Interestingly, when the Audit Committee called the special closed session in November, that meeting was held “to consult with the County Attorney and discuss a personnel matter.”  The stated purpose of the February 29 meeting only includes consulting with the county attorney.