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Did Pender meeting break law?


PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Pender County Commissioner Jimmy Tate called an emergency meeting last night with several members of the Board of Health, the County Manager and the County Attorney. When our reporter showed up to cover the meeting, we were shut out. Is that legal? And if so, why?

According to North Carolina's open meetings law, the public has the right to attend government meetings, but the issue becomes a little gray when defining a meeting.

A news release said the meeting was called to discuss the status of the interim health director after Russell Childers decided not to take the job at the last minute. However, the group of people present did not make up a majority of the Board of Health or any government body for that matter. According to open meetings laws a majority of a body must be present for the meeting to be official. Because there was no majority, there was no official meeting.

Tonight, the Pender County Board of Health will hold an official meeting to discuss the interim health director position. Chairman Bobby Watkins called the emergency meeting which will start at 6 p.m. in the Health Department conference room.

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