In the March 12 issue, it was reported that after the work session on March 9, Commissioner Ronnie Reed claimed privately to The Citizen outside of chambers that the commission had illegally discussed possibly privatizing the Sanitation Department by selling it. The next day, Reed went on the record with his statement by phone and The Citizen called county attorney Kenneth Funderburk for comment. Funderburk issued a statement through email to The Citizen that executive session was not to be discussed publicly. In the regular session on March 11, Funderburk addressed the commission with the following:
“Apparently, this has occurred many times. I got a call from the news media yesterday saying a certain Russell County commissioner called them and had an extensive discussion about something that may or may not have come up before the commission in executive session.
“But it was represented, according to the news media, that a commissioner said information about this item, that it came out of executive session. Now, it behooves me to remind commissioners and people who attend executive sessions, the lawyers who are in executive session, that the matters discussed in executive session – it’s against the rules to discuss any of those with the news media, with your wife, with your first cousin, or with anybody else.
“If the commission comes back into session and takes action, then, of course, whatever action the commissioners take is voted. But where matters come before the commission and no action is taken, matters that are in that session – and we’ve been dealing with this kind of thing being disclosed many times – but it is illegal for the commissioner to be named.
“I’m just putting on notice those news media who think its honorable or think they can rely upon information that is being disclosed against the rules, is information that needs to be questioned. I would remind everybody that there are rules. There are rules governing what I can suggest going into executive session. When you vote to go into executive session, then you know the rules…I think it’s time that to put out in public that if you get that kind of information, it’s information that probably can’t be relied upon.”
“I am very disappointed,” Commissioner Chance Corbett said. “We can’t name names of the commissioner that is involved, but I would like that to go on record. If that’s happening, it’s so improper that it may be unethical as well. I would like to see if it is, and if it is, pursue that.”
Annex Building Mural
At the regular session on March 11, the commission voted unanimously to approve paying $1,500 for a mural design. The mural will go on the west wall of the Annex building once the design is approved.
Change of Appropriation
The soccer league in Phenix City had been allocated $3,500; however, the coach left and the new coach doesn’t want to do the projects for which the money had been allocated. Instead, he would put it in the general fund. The Commission unanimously decided to move those funds to the soccer league in Russell County.
Annual Jail Food Bid
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor had been called out of the meeting, so administrator LeAnn Horne was called upon to provide the information. The bid will go out on March 13 and will open April 2 in commission chambers at 3 p.m. ET.