Keedysville mayor denies secrecy claim

January 06, 1998

Keedysville mayor denies secrecy claim


Staff Writer

KEEDYSVILLE - Keedysville Town Council member James Kearns said comments about him in a letter to the editor in Sunday's Herald-Mail are the types of things that make the town look like a "laughing stock."

Kearns was referring to a letter to the editor written by town resident Anne Leffler, who claimed Kearns stated at a recent council meeting that local officials have the right to hold secret sessions to decide how to spend taxpayer money.

Kearns said at Monday's Town Council meeting that he did not remember making such a statement.

Kearns said the discussion of secret meetings involved a personnel issue.

Under state law, elected officials have the right to meet behind closed doors to discuss personnel issues.

Kearns said the letter is typical of the attacks made on Town Council members.

Others at the meeting said Leffler's letter was a misrepresentation of what occurred at the Dec. 1 council meeting.


After the meeting, Leffler continued to stand behind her letter, saying Kearns had said during the meeting that the council can discuss whatever it wants in secret.

"It is painfully apparent that all of our officials are under the misassumption that they can, and will, do whatever they want in open defiance of the law," Leffler wrote.

Mayor Ralph B. Taylor said the argument at Monday's meeting is an example of how things have changed in town. Taylor said in the 31 years he has been mayor, only recently have issues become so contentious.

Taylor has announced he will not run for mayor this year.

"This isn't the first time things have gotten in an uproar," said Matt Hull, chairman of the planning and zoning commission.

Yvonne Hope said she believes a little controversy is good for the town.

"I think people take those things too personally. If we listen intelligently, perhaps we will learn something we didn't know," said Hope, who added people don't take letters to the editor literally.

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