What did they have to hide?

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It’s unclear if Vincent’s mayor, town council or zoning board members violated Alabama’s open meetings law. It’s also unclear why those officials did business in unpublicized meetings.

It is apparent, however, that they violated the trust of every Vincent citizen when they agreed to meet on March 31, individually or in groups of less than a quorum, with representatives of the company proposing to locate a lime quarry in Vincent.

We don’t know what went on at those meetings, and that’s the problem. If those meetings were innocent, why not present the information at a town council or zoning board meeting? After all, by the time the meeting took place, the Vecellio Group had completed the vast majority of its purchases of land, which total more than 1,000 acres in Vincent.

The citizens of Vincent are left to wonder, what, if anything, did council members and zoning board members and the mayor agree to in private that they couldn’t or wouldn’t agree to in front of their constituency?

Alabama’s open meetings law is referred to as the Sunshine Law for a reason. Alabama’s residents are best served when the sun shines brightly on every aspect of the workings of government.

Regardless of citizens’ opinions about a quarry locating in Vincent, a shadow has been cast over the project because of the secrecy involved. It will be tough work indeed for Vincent’s mayor, council and zoning board members to win back the trust of the people they were elected to serve.