Sustained Outrage

WVU Secrecy V

Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9
Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9
Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number…

— Lennon-McCartney

The West Virginia University Board of Governors continues to thumb its nose at the public. The Associated Press reports this afternoon that the board has selected its pick to be the next president of West Virginia’s flagship university.

But as the AP also reports, the board didn’t release the name of its choice:

The candidate of choice is only being referred to as Candidate No. 9 until he is approved by the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission.

When it wrote the state’s Open Governmental Proceedings Act, the Legislature specifically tried to prevent exactly this sort of nonsense.

Here’s what it says in W.Va. Code 6-9A-8(a):

…The members of a public agency may not deliberate, vote, or otherwise take official action upon any matter by reference to a letter, number or other designation or other secret device or method, which may render it difficult for persons attending a meeting of the public agency to understand what is being deliberated, voted or acted upon.

If the Board of Governors wants to vote based on numeric codes, they have to give the public the codes. Here’s what the law says:

…This subsection does not prohibit a public agency from deliberating, voting or otherwise taking action by reference to an agenda, if copies of the agenda, sufficiently worded to enable the public to understand what is being deliberated, voted or acted upon, are available for public inspection at the meeting.