Once again the superintendent’s contract is a topic for the school board. At the last meeting board member Carol Carter-Estes asked that the contract be taken off the agenda for the public meeting and put on agenda for a private attorney client meeting. At Monday’s work session board members Alvey and Bratcher asked why this meeting was necessary and said they had asked the same question for the past four months every time the issue was raised by Carter-Estes. Carol Carter-Estes then responded by saying that she had questions and concerns that she felt were better discussed in an attorney-client meeting. After adding that the private meeting would be away from the “hecklers”, Carter-Estes went on to say she had NEVER said anything critical in public about another board member. Carter-Estes said she did not come to the board to win a popularity contest. She said she was an elected official and was there to represent her district and then collectively the community. Board member Bratcher responded that he was not criticizing her and had not said a critical word about her either but thought it was a fair question to ask what her to clarify her concerns. Bratcher wanted to know what had changed from all the other meetings where all the attorneys had told them they have a legal contract with the superintendent. Bob Alvey repeated his concerns that it is just tying up time to have another meeting and sends the wrong message to the public. Board member Linda Pride told the board she did not attend the last meeting because she thought it was an illegal meeting but then asked why people are now concerned when they did not have a problem with the last meeting. According to sources Debra Owen, the in-house attorney, has advised she believes the meeting is legal since the superintendent has had her attorney at several of the meetings.
At the last meeting a majority including; Keeton, Gordon, Henning-Rowan, Akins, and Carter-Estes, voted to request an Attorney-Client meeting. According to Chairman Mays he got the request from Carol Carter-Estes through the board secretary to have the meeting on Thursday, June the 11th after the regular board meeting. In the Newsroom will attend the Thursday meeting
According to Tennessee’s Sunshine Laws, an attorney may meet with a client otherwise subject to the Sunshine Law for the purpose of discussing only present and pending litigation to which the public body has been named. Clients may provide the attorney with facts and information regarding the lawsuit and the attorney may advise them of the legal ramifications of those facts. Once any discussion whatsoever begins regarding action to be taken based upon that advice, whether settlement or otherwise, all such discussion must be open to the public.