Task Force Must Meet Publicly

Remember the task force the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education appointed, then dissolved? They're still around, on their own. But can they meet in private?

It's a question a judge was asked to answer today. The judge ruled that, if the task force appointed by the school board does meet in the future, it will have to meet in public.

Former Savannah-Chatham school board president and task force member Ann Crowder didn't want to go to court. She says all the task force wanted to do was help the board of education. Private meeting, public meeting, it didn't matter.

"I think the case was someone who had an axe to grind would use this for political reasons," she said. "We came together to help the school board and we got sued."

"The law was being abused and we were right to bring action," said Rev. Leonard Small of the Unity Political Action Committee.

When Judge Brannen ruled the task force should have met in public, Rev. Small couldn't have been more satisfied.

"I don't understand how a sitting mayor and former school board member, two members of the chamber of commerce, a former school board president and two university presidents, who all should understand what open meetings are about, I don't understand why we should have to challenge them on this question," he said.

Crowder says there will be no appeals. It's case closed. "We got the ruling, we'll now move on from there. It'll be open meetings."

Crowder expects the task force to meet again sometime in the near future.

The task force had planned to meet even though the board of education dissolved the group last week.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com