Called Council Meeting
Clinton City Council will consider dissolving the Department of Public Safety - the motion passes unanimously.
A called council meeting will announced today (Aug. 8) and scheduled for Thursday night at 6:30 pm in the council chambers. A state law says all meetings must be announced 24 hours in advance (this meeting was called at 2:40 pm Wednesday). The one item on the agenda is amending a city ordinance "to dissolve the Department of Public Safety."
The meeting is open to the public. A City Manager's presentation and First Reading of the Ordinance will be conducted during this called meeting of the Clinton City Council.
UPDATE - The Clinton City Council apparently discussed this matter in secret Monday night.
Its Aug. 6 agenda lists a closed-to-the-public executive session discussion of A (ONE) Personnel Matter related to the Public Safety Department, but not the Ordinance that forms the Public Safety Department. Ordinances and Policies - by State Law - cannot be discussed and acted on in closed session.
The "personnel matter" exemption to the SC Freedom of Information Act says, "(30-4-70 1) Discussion of employment, appointment, compensation, promotion, demotion, disciple, or release of an employee, a student, or a person regulated by a public body or the appointment of a person to a public body; however, if an adversary hearing involving the employee or client is held, the employee or client has the right to demand that the hearing be conducted publicly. Nothing contained in this item shall prevent the public body, in its discretion, from deleting the names of the other employees or clients whose records are submitted for use at the hearing."
Unless the Clinton City Council was discussing ONE SPECIFIC EMPLOYEE - and not the existence of the Public Safety Department as a whole - we believe, it was in violation of South Carolina law.
Council emerged from its 1 hour and 45 minutes in closed session and took "no action." That was Monday night - but Wednesday afternoon, the City had announced a special meeting for discussion of the Public Safety Department Ordinance, in which the word "dissolve" is used. See both agendas, below.