Morgan State regents violated Open Meetings Act

Board criticizes exclusion of public from open portion of meeting in which president's contract wasn't renewed

March 05, 2013|By Yvonne Wenger, The Baltimore Sun

The Morgan State University Board of Regents violated Maryland's Open Meetings Act when it held a meeting in early December in which it decided to not renew the contract of its president, a decision it has since reversed.

The Open Meetings Compliance Board concluded this week that the university's leadership excluded the public from the open portion of its Dec. 4 meeting by describing the entire meeting as closed.

During the meeting, the board voted 8-7 to find a new president when David J. Wilson's contract expired in June. But the board voted 14-1 on Dec. 28 to write a new one-year contract for Wilson, who has served as Morgan's president for more than two years.

The university's board, however, was commended by the Open Meetings Compliance Board for bringing its procedures in line with the law's requirements in time for the Dec. 28 meeting.

"The December 4 meeting was not a meeting convened secretly to discuss substantive public business that should have been discussed in the open: the board had announced publicly that it was meeting, and the renewal of the university president's contract was a subject well within the exception provided by the act for discussions about individual employees," according to the compliance board's 12-page findings.

It was the second time in a week that the compliance board had issued a ruling against a university board of regents. Last week, the compliance board also found that the state university system's Board of Regents had violated the law when it met in closed session to discuss the University of Maryland's move to the Big Ten Conference.

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