Jody Lassiter, president of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, encouraged Danville City Commission not to make a “blanket policy” in regard to a recent controversy about a closed session of the EDP board of directors.
Earlier this month, Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney respectfully walked out of a closed session of the EDP board.
Lassiter, along with Boyle Industrial Foundation President John Albright, said during Monday’s City Commission meeting that they and other EDP board members, which include five elected government representatives, are willing to voluntarily operate under open meetings laws.
Lassiter “vigorously” maintains that the EDP is not a public agency and thus would not be compelled to follow state open meetings laws. However, Lassiter claims that the EDP voluntarily maintains open meetings laws “about 99 percent of the time.”
He also acknowledged that the organization received $230,000 in city and county funding last year.
Dexter drafted a preliminary “private entity funding agreement” that would require any organization that receives more than $10,000 of city funds to comply with open meetings and open records laws.
If the new agreement is enacted, impacted organizations would include the Senior Citizens Center, the Airport Board, Parks and Recreation and the Child Development Center.
Lassiter and Commissioner James “J.H.” Atkins expressed concern about rushing into a “blanket policy,” especially since the EDP is working to improve the public’s perception of the organization.
“I want to make sure we’re doing the policy for the right reasons,” Atkins said.
The issue was tabled without further action or discussion.
Carl Beckman, who has ties to both Danville and Cincinnati, said during the public comments portion of the meeting that there is a long-standing perception that the public is not welcome at EDP meetings. He noted a group of volunteers could do the work of the EDP and save local government a lot of money.
The EDP board will hold its next meeting at 8 a.m. Feb. 20 in the R.R. Donnelley Conference Room of the Boyle County Public Library.