Legal action filed in Lee County open meetings case

Posted April 4, 2014


— A Lee County resident has sued the county Board of Commissioners over a public meeting he says was less open than required by the state's open meetings law.

Jay Calendine is an active member of the Lee County Democratic Party and one of those who initially raised objections to the county holding a public meeting in a gated community.

The meeting in question was held March 9 at Carolina Trace, a gated subdivision. Reports from the time indicated that both ordinary citizens and at least one county commissioner were turned away from the gate because they refused to give their name in order to attend the meeting. 

In a motion for injunctive relief filed Friday, Calendine asks the court to order Lee County not to hold any more meetings in such a manner.

Calendine also asks the court to hold certain county commissioners, including Charles Parks, personally liable for paying attorney fees. That's something the court could do if it found the commissioners had ignored the advice of their attorney.

County Attorney Garris Neil Yarborough had written commissioners to warn them of potential problems with the meeting setup.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • WRAL_USER Apr 8, 2014

    This was really dumb... Guards aside, why would the board of commissioners think this was OK in any way??? Wanted the buffet at Trace I guess...

  • Forthe Newssite Apr 7, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    you CAN'T be serious!!! you think it's just hunky dorey to hold SECRET meetings?


  • Lee Co Rat Apr 7, 2014

    The whole thing was an honest mistake.
    The guards admitted they mishandled the
    situation. This whole thing is bickering among both parties. I wish all Democrats and Republicans would be voted out. I live in Sanford it is like a bunch of spoiled children fighting all the time. They argue all the time while our county could not look any worse and only a select few are taken care of,
    the Good Ole Boy network at its finest.
    The Sheriff in Lee Co is the only politician worth his weight, he looks beyond party lines and actually cares about someone besides himself.

  • Carl Keehn Apr 6, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Perhaps because state law requires that the meetings be open and transparent? There are only a few exceptions to that rule, mainly to maintain confidentiality in regards to personnel issues.

  • James Grimes Jr. Apr 5, 2014
    user avatar

    This decision to have the meeting within the gated community is beyond stupid. If that wasn't enough, there wasn't enough communication between them and the guard.

  • HeadsUp Apr 4, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Vote out every last one of the violators, Lee County folks.

  • miseem Apr 4, 2014

    I don't see why meetings can't be held in secret. There is no law (thanks to the US Supreme Court) that requires elected officials to state who bought them the election. Why should open meetings that don't make any difference (note the NCGA's response to opposing voices) be a requirement.

  • Kenny Dunn Apr 4, 2014
    user avatar

    This has to be the stupidest thing I've seen a local government do in a very long time. I hope they all lose their positions at the earliest opportunity.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Apr 4, 2014

    The law does allow for that punishment. This seems like a pretty clear case for it. Their attorney advised them of problems and they did it anyway.

  • dwntwnboy2 Apr 4, 2014

    There is no reason a "public" meeting should be held behind guarded gates that not all citizens are free and open to attend. No one should have to give their name to see their elected officials hold a local meeting. Have been to several meetings here in Raleigh- usually held in the City offices, open to the public, no names or IDs checked or anything.