On February 22, 2016, I was told about a meeting that happened on January 19 that involved all three Licking County Commissioners. I couldn’t find record of such a meeting through the minutes available online so I sent an email to the Licking County Commissioner’s Clerk/ Administrator Bev Adzic, asking for her to, “Please email the minutes for the January 19th meeting.”
She responded with the following comment: “There was no meeting of the Licking County Board of Commissioners on the date requested, January 19, 2016. For your convenience, I have enclosed a copy of Resolution Jr. 82, Pg. 279 indicating the Board’s meeting date schedule for 2016, with exceptions,” (showing that there was no meeting on January 19th) and copied all three commissioners on the email.
On February 29, feeling confident that there had been a meeting on January 19, and curious as to why Ms. Adzic seemed to be hiding this meeting, I asked to see surveillance video showing the hallway at the commissioners’ office for January 19.
This time Adzic wrote, “The video footage for January 19th, 2016 was automatically disposed of on or about February 3rd, 2016, and therefore because it does not exist your records request is denied.” Ms. Adzic cited some case law and legal wording from the Ohio Revised Code and copied Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Zanghi on this email.
On March 4, the headline of a story in a local newspaper read LICKING COMMISSIONERS MET ON ‘ NO MEETING’ DAY! This story began by saying, although their agenda said they weren’t having a meeting January 19, they most certainly DID have a meeting that day to discuss the $4 million renovation of the courthouse. In attendance at this meeting were all three commissioners and their clerk, Bev Adzic, as well as a couple of judges, an architect and others. But the commissioners and Ms. Adzic seemed to be the only attendees trying to hide this meeting (which, according to two experts on open meetings law, appears to have broken the Ohio Open Meetings Act).
Commissioner Rick Black admitted they “do this all the time” calling them informational meetings. Commissioner Tim Bubb said they “list meetings on their agenda when it includes making decisions, spending money or giving direction” and added that he was “there out of CURIOSITY more than anything else!” Commissioner Duane Flowers called this meeting a working session but added that he didn’t know “what the rules are on that.”
Bev Adzic told the reporter that the meeting was arranged at least a few days in advance and was quoted as saying, “We have informational sessions a lot where we might all be in a room at the same time,” Adzic said. “They’re not attending to make decisions, but come back to our meetings and report what’s going on. We’re not hiding anything.”
Translation…THEY’RE HIDING SOMETHING!