Editor’s Note: If YOU are one of those that were hoping and praying that the change of a few high-level administrators at Cleveland Community College have made things at 137 S. Post Road any better, YOU need to read every word of this article. Things have indeed “Changed” at Cleveland Community College. Things are WORSE than ever before!!
This Article covers the November 12, 2019 Regular BoT meeting, January 10, 2020 Emergency BoT Meeting, as well as the January 14, 2020 Regular BoT Meeting for this continuing saga of corruption, lawlessness and cover-up. YOU will also learn of the REAL problem at CCC that is never talked about. That will be revealed at the end of this article. Please don’t “peep” until you read this entire article. I regret that it has to be so lengthy.
Folks, keep in mind that every local governmental agency in Cleveland County, such as the County Commissioners, the School Board, the City of Shelby and the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees are bound by North Carolina law to conduct their business in OPEN Session. That is, they are open to the public to listen, record or video record as they choose. These agency meetings can go into CLOSED Session, where the public is excluded, only in very rare circumstances that are closely described by state law. State law that is based on the United States Constitution’s concept of public access to governmental affairs. Every State in the Union, by 1976, has adopted Open Meeting Laws, often called “Sunshine Laws” to codify this important Constitutional concept. North Carolina is NO exception.
However, just as criminals like to do their deeds in the dark, politicians at every level of government like to do the same thing. Do their business in the dark. Outside of public view. Reasoning for this may vary; higher efficiency, trust, honorable people running things, etc. But the fact is this: whether crooks or Preachers are running things, it is often very difficult to determine whether or not the business of the agency is doing criminal acts or righteous deeds.
This analogy between criminal acts and righteous deeds is ever so appropriate with the Cleveland Community College, whose Chairman of the Board of Trustees is Rev. Dr. M. Lamont Littlejohn, Jr., an ordained Baptist Minister, whose name seems to turn-up with remarkable frequency in what appears to be shady deals and back-door wheeling and dealing. But that set of circumstances will be the subject for other articles at another time.
In particular, the business doings of the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees, an appointed and not elected board, seems to probably be the worst run organizations in Cleveland County. Just about everything they do is contrived to avoid public scrutiny at every twist and turn. An appropriate concern is, if a board will violate simple and straight forward state laws, it is logical to assume that they will soon be violating more complex and serious laws, most often regarding MONEY. THAT is what THIS article is about.
The most common way to hide from the public at their board meetings is to conjure up a phony excuse for a closed session to discuss their dirty deeds. Most all agencies in Cleveland County place their Closed sessions at the end of their boring meetings in the hope that the public will go home before they come “out” of Closed Session. The School Board stops their broadcast recordings when the CCS Board goes into Closed Session. But. The CCC Board of Trustees try other things to exclude the public. Sneaky and dirty to the bone. Read on.
November 12, 2019:
At the November 12, 2019 CCC BoT Meeting the BoTs, as usual, have their closed session “business’ as the last agenda item before adjournment. State Law requires that no official decisions and votes can be had during closed sessions, that the official acts from closed sessions must be voted on during open session. State law requires this transfer from open session to closed session and back into open session be done like this.
A BoT member makes a motion to go into closed session per the North Carolina General Statute that applies to the circumstances where a closed session is allowed. The motion must be specific and describe exactly which law applies. Then, there is a second to the motion and a vote. If the vote passes the BoTs enter into Closed Session. Unlike everybody else in Cleveland County, the BoTs removes members of the public from the meeting room instead of leaving the meeting room for another location like everybody else.
When the BoTs are ready to come back into open session, State law requires for them make sure that any member of the public that was present during the meeting be summoned back into the meeting room before it actually becomes an official Open Meeting. Once the public is back in place, the BoT Chairman, Rev. Littlejohn in this case, is supposed to call the meeting back into order.
If the BoTs took no action in the closed session, Chairman Littlejohn is supposed to state for the record that the meeting is back into open session and “No Action” was taken in the Closed Session. If the BoTs need to take some action, Chairman Littlejohn is supposed to ask the Board for a motion to take the action that was agreed upon in the Closed Session for a vote in Open Session. Once the vote is taken and the BoT’s want to adjourn, they make and pass a motion to adjourn. Simple, right. RIGHT??? Legal, right! RIGHT???