Mar 23, 2013

Closed Meeting

     An investigation is underway into the death of a 10 year old boy at the Birmingham Airport, killed when a sign displaying flight information fell on him and his family. His mother and some siblings are hospitalized.    
    The Airport authority held an emergency meeting yesterday with the contractor who affixed the sign to the wall, hours after the event. They used an exception in the open meetings law as an excuse to close the meeting to the public. AL.com reports:

Airport board attorney Kem Marks said the meeting was closed under an Alabama Open Meetings Act exception for issues pertaining to "security plans and measures." 

Brasfield & Gorrie representatives were there because of their knowledge of the terminal's construction, Marks said.

The Alabama Open Meetings Act states closed sessions are allowed to discuss "security plans, procedures, (and) assessments," for what federal law calls "critical infrastructure." The law also states owners and operators of the critical infrastructure to be present in closed session.

There is no security issue here.
It's just convenient not to have people inside.
The people paid for the work
The people will have to pay for a settlement with the poor family.
The people need to know what was said in that meeting. 

2 comments:

Jay Croft said...

In all fairness--this WAS an emergency. Everyone needed first to sit down and take a deep breath and figure out what actually happened, and take necessary cautions to ensure public safety.

There will (or should be) public input later.

I see in this morning's paper that a second, identical signboard has been taken down.

My own theory--look at the fasteners used to affix the signboards to the wall. You'll see the words "Made in China".

Tim Lennox said...

An emergency is not the same as a security issue. Boards and Agencies are covered by the open meeting law for a good reason. (-:
One story quoted a witness as saying it appeared the board was attached only by glued nails.