A vote illegally taken in secret is what has allowed Billy Guice to keep his job as counsel with the JCBOS for the past few weeks. The board went into a closed-door executive session for the purpose of “potential litigation – SRHS.” Sadly, the discussion went beyond just the litigation and veered into the realm of contracts for professional services.
The minutes reflect that the JCBOS actually held discussion and took a vote on keeping Billy Guice in place as an attorney. This is clearly a contract for professional services and not a matter of “potential litigation.”
As such, any votes or discussion on Mr. Guice’s service to the board should have taken place in the open meeting. Don’t let Mr. Guice plead ignorance on this issue. He knows better, as he previously directed the board to vote on his contingency fee contract to sue KPMG during the open session for this very reason.
Despite having new counsel, the admonition of citizens during public comments, and the vote of the public, these open meetings problems continue to plague the JCBOS. A look at tomorrow’s agenda reveals a matter for executive session as relating to a “contract – county property insurance.” Again, there is no provision in the law to discuss contracts or purchasing in executive session.
The board has also continued to fail to comply with the requirements of entering executive session as called for by Common Cause. It is a truly straight-forward process that has been set out by the Supreme Court. It is a wonder that compliance with such a simple order is so difficult to grasp for Jackson County’s multiple attorneys.
It is not enough to send the board attorney out to announce why the board is staying in executive session – the BOARD MUST RETURN TO OPEN SESSION TO ANNOUNCE THE REASON FOR EXECUTIVE SESSION.
The citizens of Jackson County made their voices heard last November: they wanted full compliance with the law. They should echo their sentiments during public comments on Monday.