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State looking into possible violation
Complaint concerns open meetings act
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Forsyth County News

 

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office will review a recent complaint that contends the Forsyth County Civil Service Board violated the state open meetings act.

Nydia Tisdale, a Roswell resident and political activist, said she submitted the complaint to the state after she received no response on the matter from county officials.

The complaint contends the board did not give required due notice for its Jan. 13 meeting, Tisdale said.

According to the state government open meetings act: “Due notice shall be the posting of a written notice for at least 24 hours at the place of regular meetings and giving of written or oral notice at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.”

Tisdale said the board’s notice was sent out more than eight hours after the minimum time required and was not posted at the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex, where the board meets.

In addition, she said, the public notice did not provide the required legal address or name or number of the room where the meeting would be held.

“You have to be precise when you’re dealing with a legal document, and public notice is a legal document,” Tisdale said. “People might think it’s a little nitpicky and it is, because the law requires it.”

Spokeswoman Lauren Kane said the attorney general’s office will review the complaint and any document or evidence provided. A mediation group will then evaluate the next step.

“In general, if there was a violation, they would normally write to the agency and usually it gets resolved with that,” Kane said. “They make sure the agency understands the violation and remedies the situation.”

According to the open meetings act, a violator could incur a fine of up to $500.

The act also states that “any ... official action of an agency adopted, taken, or made at a meeting which is not open to the public as required by this chapter shall not be binding.”

Tisdale expressed concern about Thursday’s county commission decision to approve a civil service board vote appointing Dana Miles as its hearing officer.

If the civil service board vote was non-binding, she said the commissioners’ vote was “improper.”

“If [Miles] really wasn’t properly appointed through the due procedures, and he’s sitting on a hearing, could that invalidate the hearing?” she said. “It just begs the question.”

Tisdale said she has already received public notice for the civil service board’s next regular meeting, March 10. It’s also posted on the county’s Web site.

The notice still does not include all the required information, she said, but a room name was included for the first time.

“That’s a little more helpful,” she said. “... But they’re still not doing it right. It’s still deficient.”