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Putnam board chief to discuss issue ‘off the record’

WINFIELD, W.Va. – The Putnam County school board president told the Gazette Monday he plans to hold individual, “off-the-record” discussions with other board members about an issue outside of an open meeting.

Joey Tolley, a 2005 Buffalo High School graduate, asked board members at their last meeting, on Oct. 20, to revise or repeal policies barring the use of school facilities for alumni games and for-profit purposes so Putnam alumni could hold two reunion football games at the high school field this month.

Board members, however, chose not to discuss the issue then, and Tolley told the Gazette afterward that the board “won’t even acknowledge” those working to host the games.

He asked members Monday if they had discussed the issue, and board President Butch Legg said members would do so. Members again didn’t discuss the issue during the open meeting, and a Gazette reporter asked Legg after the meeting when they planned to discuss it.

“I will speak to the board members individually,” Legg replied.

He then explained he plans to have the “off-the-record” discussions before the end of the year, saying he wanted to avoid having to discuss it in a public meeting. He said more than two members discussing an issue would equal a quorum, or majority, on the five-member board, and state law would then require an open meeting.

Purposefully holding a series of meetings or discussions among less than a majority of board members to avoid a public meeting appears to violate at least the spirit of the state Open Meetings Act…

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