Two Kingsport women sue the city for allegedly holding secret me - WNCN: News, Weather

Two Kingsport women sue the city for allegedly holding secret meetings

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GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) -

Two Kingsport women say the school board and city leaders broke the law and they took them to court Thursday to prove it.

The women said the Sullivan County Board of Education and the Board of Mayor and Alderman met secretly about closing down schools in the county and broke Tennessee law.

The entire lawsuit stems from Facebook.

Angie Stanley and Monica Comsa messaged Vice Mayor Tom Parham on his re-election page.

The women asked Parham about meetings taking place about consolidating two of the schools.

In the emails Parham refers to a "leadership team" including educators and school board members from both school systems, the mayor, and the city manager where they discuss school consolidation.

In the messages he also says these meetings are private.

"A long range plan for the schools that's policy, that's stuff that's public policy that the public has a right to participate in," Judge Wright said.

"We the people need to know what's going on in Sullivan county and in Kingsport behind closed doors. We have the right to know what decisions they are making," Plaintiff Angie Stanley said.

 Tennessee's open meetings law also known as the "Sunshine law" requires any meeting with two or more public officials deciding on public policy must be open to the public.

The defense argued no law was broken because the people at that meeting couldn't change policy.   

"All they have to do is disclose and say what's going on rather than try to get it dismissed by a technicality," Prosecution attorney Larry Roberts said.

The judge dismissed the Kingsport Board of Education and the Sullivan County Board of education from the case from the lawsuit.

So what's next?

Lawyers will start checking out the actions of the Kingsport mayor and the alderman. That part of the lawsuit can go forward.

The city of Kingsport said they cannot give us a statement about the lawsuit at this time.

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