Board to vote on minutes version

Issue involves contract extension for Columbia Association president

January 24, 2007|By Tyrone Richardson | Tyrone Richardson,sun reporter

The Columbia Association board of directors will meet tomorrow behind closed doors to decide whether minutes taken during two closed sessions of the operations committee about the contract extension of President Maggie J. Brown are accurate.

The closed session is scheduled an hour before the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. If the panel agrees on the accuracy of the minutes, its members will vote during the public meeting whether to release them.

The operations committee has been holding closed and open meetings to prepare a contract offer for Brown. Her contract expires April 30, and the 10-member board is divided on whether she should remain as president. Half of the members believe she deserves a three-year extension; half want to give her a one-year deal while the board looks for a replacement.

Supporters of Brown want the minutes released to the public. Miles Coffman, board member representing Hickory Ridge, made the motion during the association's operations committee meeting last week.

Opponents raised objection because they said the minutes, taken by Brown, are incorrect.

"They don't have everything in it," said Cynthia Coyle, board member for Harper's Choice. "There is quite a bit of omission within the minutes. ... I want them to reflect what was in the meeting. If you are going to open them to the public or not, I want them to be accurate."

Coffman said he made the motion to have the board approve the minutes to allow the public a chance to see what is being discussed about Brown's contract.

"They now realize that we are trying to release [the minutes], and they will not be too flattering on them, and that is what it is all about," Coffman said.

Coffman said association minutes have been a problem in the past.

"This has been an argument that has been on the board for awhile," he said. "You have some that want 10 pages of verbatim minutes and some that want them to say only what is going on."

Some board members also raised a concern with Brown recording the minutes during the closed meeting.

In the association's committee structure, a senior staff member of the organization is appointed to each committee for administrative duties, which include recording minutes in closed sessions.

"We should adopt a policy that the person who is being talked about is not the one taking the notes," said Phil Marcus, board member representing Kings Contrivance. "Maggie was being talked about, and Maggie was the note taker, and that is bizarre."

Brown defended her actions.

"All minutes, whether they are closed or open meetings, are done as drafts," which have to be approved before they are official records, Brown said. " ... I have taken them as I always have taken them."

tyrone.richardson@baltsun.com

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