Richland Co. leaders debate if closed meeting details should publicized

(Source: WIS)
(Source: WIS)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) -  A member of the Richland County Council has posed a striking question: how much information discussed at a meeting of the council should be shared with the public?

County councilman Norman Jackson says he feels too many details are getting out when council members meet for executive session - when a portion of each council meeting where the group goes behind closed doors.

Sometimes the purpose is to discuss legal and personnel matters while other times the focus can be economic matters for the county.

Jackson says he wants his colleagues to revisit policies on executive session and even take action to punish council members who leak information from that portion of the meeting.

"If we have a rule or a policy where we do not disseminate information in executive session. I don't think we should," he said. "So we should have some policy either we keep executive session and follow the rules in the policy or we get rid of executive session."

"The problem we're having now is in economic development and to bring companies to Richland County. Also, we don't want to be labeled as a council that disseminates information," Jackson continued.

Other members of the board say they feel the whole discussion is a waste of time.

"I think that the public, you know, has a right to know," said Seth Rose, who is also on the council, "and I have not seen an instance where any decision the county's been disadvantaged by any information that has been so-called 'leaked.'"
"We have a lot more pressing issues that the council needs to be dealing with rather than trying to keep the media from knowing information," Rose continued.

The issue was briefly taken up at the Richland County council's last meeting on Tuesday. Members have referred the matter to a committee for further discussion.

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