Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
VRE Closed Meeting 2
The supervisors went into a closed meeting to discuss the Virginia Railway Express. The code section cited for the exemption that the county attorney says permits the discussion is 2.2-3711 (A) (6).
That code reads: "Discussion or consideration of the investment of public funds where competition or bargaining is involved, where, if made public initially, the financial interest of the government unit would be adversely affected."
Supervisors in open session began to discuss VRE. Supervisor Emmitt Marshall said he wanted to poll supervisors on whether to join VRE to end the discussion once and for all. Supervisor Gary Skinner argued that supervisors should not vote now because he has asked staff to gather information about the ways to join the rail service, the costs, and the benefits and negatives. Supervisor Jerry Logan reminded supervisors that they were discussing something they had planned to bring up in a closed meeting.
Marshall then asked what exactly they could discuss about VRE in a closed meeting. County Attorney Jacob Stroman said they can discuss in a closed meeting the potential investment of public funds and his analysis of the laws regarding VRE because it contains some legal advice.
I asked Stroman about the "competition and bargaining" and he said that the discussion is strictly about bargaining an agreement with VRE. I did not get to ask him how discussing this in public would adversely affect the financial interest of the county because he said he had to enter into the closed meeting.
Update: I just asked Mr. Stroman about how discussing this in public could adversely affect the bargaining with VRE or the financial interest of the county, and he said that a locality can have an agreement with VRE that is different than an agreement VRE may have with another locality. I wonder if Stafford County, a paying member of VRE, knows this.
What can be bargained?