- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Thumbs up to Bedford City Council.
Once again Council saw the value in holding its interviews for a public position in public. Faced with the task of having to appoint three members to the City School Board, Council used that as an opportunity to allow the questions members asked, and the responses applicants made, to be heard in a public forum.
What a grand idea! Just think about it—a public, governing body actually thought about the public when making the decision on how to handle applications for a public appointment. This isn’t the first time City Council has done this, and hopefully it won’t be the last.
Other local governing bodies should take note.
The public has the right to hear the views of those applying for public positions. City Council gets that; it’s a shame other boards don’t. Just because something can be held in closed session doesn’t mean it has to be. Interviews for those seeking appointments to a public board should be one of those instances. The public has a right to know. And speaking of closed door meetings …
Thumbs down to the Bedford County School Board for constantly running its closed door sessions into the regular meeting schedule. Last week the board started its regular meeting 55 minutes late because of its closed door session, which started at 6 p.m. The regular portion of the meeting, set for 7 p.m., started around 7:55 p.m.
If this wasn’t a regular occurrence, maybe it could be understood. But that's not the case. The School Board has been consistently running its closed door sessions 30 minutes or longer past the allotted time. That’s not fair to members of the public who show up for the regular meeting—some of those students who take the time to go to the meeting to be briefly recognized for an achievement they’ve accomplished during the school year. It’s also not fair to those parents, teachers and other interested parties who show up to comment on an agenda item or observe what the board is doing. Instead that practice discourages public involvement.
That’s unacceptable and it doesn’t have to happen.
If the board needs more time in closed session, as it apparently does on a regular basis, it can begin holding those sessions 30 minutes to an hour earlier than it currently does. That’s an easy fix. If that’s not acceptable, the board could at least adjourn its closed session meeting, go into regular session, and then go back into closed session following its regular meeting to complete that business. Yes, if action had to be taken, the board would have to go back into open session to take a vote. But that would still encumber far fewer people than it does now. And speaking of public involvement...
Thumbs up to the two new appointees to the Bedford City School Board: Tabitha King and Tara Warner. They were two of the leaders of the movement in the city to keep Bedford Primary School open this past year. Their work paid off and it led them to seek a place on the city board. That’s a positive step for the city’s interests in the school system and they’ve proven they’re not afraid to get involved. Look for a more vocal and involved City School Board in the days ahead.T