ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has ruled that Asheville's City Council cannot block the public from a team-building exercise that council members had scheduled as part of an annual retreat.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Buncombe County Superior Court Judge Steven Warren made the ruling Tuesday.
The two-day retreat begins Wednesday. The Council had wanted to keep private part of the retreat in order to facilitate team building.
One council member, Kim Roney, was against closing that portion of the meeting. Media outlets that included the Citizen-Times had asked the judge to stop the public from being barred.
Similar parts of past retreats have been open. But city Attorney Brad Branham argued the five-hour portion of the retreat was an informal gathering.
Warren ruled that it was subject to state open meetings laws.
“The planned meeting referenced within the foregoing stipulated findings of fact constitutes ‘an official meeting’ as that term is defined in N.C. General Statute 143-318.10(d),” he said.
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