RALEIGH, N.C. — Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from the taxes you pay the city to the tuition required to attend public universities meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve.
Whether they're elected or appointed, members of these local and state boards can meet out of view of the public for almost a dozen legitimate reasons, like personnel decisions or discussions of legal strategy. When they do, they're supposed to keep an account of what happens — and barring specific exceptions, be able to provide that account to the public.
That's often not the case.
A collaborative investigation by 10 newsrooms across the state found that governing boards that meet in closed session are often slow to hand over legally required records that detail what they discuss in secret, if they provide them at all. When they are produced, they're often heavily redacted, raising questions about how closely those boards are following the law. Read more...