It always raises eyebrows at least a little when Guilford County’s Board of Commissioners’ Audit Committee calls a closed session to consult with the county attorney.

The committee has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, July 13, that includes a private session with the attorney.

Among other things, the committee oversees the county’s finances and hears reports from the auditors regarding worrisome financial practices, a failure to keep accurate records or to discuss an employee who’s been dipping into the till.

The Audit Committee will meet on July 13 at 11 a.m. in the Bob Shaw Conference room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro. When the group goes into closed session, any media or members of the public will be made to leave and the conversation will be held in private.

In recent years, the Audit Committee has called closed sessions several times, and rarely, even after the fact, is it revealed what was discussed.

The official reason for going into closed session next week is “pursuant to NCGS [North Carolina General Statutes] 143-318.11 (1) and (3) to consult with the County Attorney.”

Number 1 covers “To prevent the disclosure of information “that is privileged or confidential pursuant to the law of this State or of the United States, or not considered a public record.”

The second reason listed includes “To consult with an attorney… in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege between the attorney and the public body.”

General policy matters can’t legally be discussed in a closed session, but the committee “may consider and give instructions to an attorney concerning the handling or settlement of a claim, judicial action, mediation, arbitration, or administrative procedure.”

If the entire Board of Commissioners ultimately reaches a settlement in closed session – other than a malpractice settlement by a hospital – the terms of that settlement have to  be made public “as soon as possible within a reasonable time after the settlement is concluded.”

So, it’s possible the mystery reason for the closed session and any outcome from it may be made public at the Board of Commissioners’ July meeting, which will be held on Thursday, July 14, the day after the Audit Committee meeting.

On July 13, the committee will conduct some less interesting business before heading behind closed doors.  It’s scheduled to discuss proposed updates to the county’s Audit Committee Charter and administrative documents, as well as to discuss the next – fiscal 2022-2023 – audit process.