An editorial from Southern Maryland Newspapers published Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010:
The Charles County commissioners regularly meet in closed sessions. The Maryland Open Meetings Act allows them to do this when they are, for example, discussing personnel issues, the acquisition of property and the investment of public funds or consulting with counsel on legal issues and pending or potential litigation.
In May, this newspaper questioned whether the commissioners violated the law in two instances that month. One of the complaints concerned a by-invitation-only meeting May 21 that the commissioners held at the community college. Two other complaints about that same meeting were filed by citizens. The paper maintained that since members of the community were denied access it suggested a deliberate effort to stifle public participation in the government process. In the county’s response to the state, the county attorney admitted that the county commissioners had made “a mistake and it was wrong” to deny access to the meeting. The response also offered some convoluted reason for why a small room ended up being the venue for the meeting. All that could have been avoided if the county had simply held the meeting where it belonged — in the auditorium in the county government building.