Is there something rotten in Guilford County government?
Perhaps there’s a problem. But, if so – and if it involves a county employee or county employees – the public will likely never find out about it.
On Tuesday, June 29, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners’ Audit Committee will meet behind closed doors at noon in the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House.
Audit Committee meetings – like Guilford County Board of Commissioner meetings and other county committee meetings – are, by law, open to the public in North Carolina. However, in this case, the county is using an exception to the state’s open meeting law to hold the discussion in private.
The official reason given for the closure is “to consult with the County Attorney.”
No county official is giving any further explanation of the decision to close the meeting.
However, the Audit Committee oversees the county’s annual audit – which is how the county, among other things, checks to make sure that county employees aren’t falsifying documents, swindling the taxpayers out of money or illegally handing out government favors. The county is audited every year in a process that also makes sure the budget numbers add up and informs the county if it is making decisions that could put it on shaky financial ground.
While the press and the public are almost always allowed into the Audit Committee meetings, the notice for the June 29 meeting states, “The purpose of the committee meeting is to immediately enter into Closed Session.”
The committee has held closed sessions before, and, in some cases, the reason eventually becomes public. However, in other cases, no one ever reveals the reason the committee felt compelled to meet in secret with the county attorney.