Citizens at a redistricting meeting at Summerville county chambers on Monday had a bone to pick with council, but not over the six redistricting plans being presented for the county.
Instead, two of the citizens who spoke at the public hearing were upset that council had discussed and received legal advice on redistricting matters in two executive sessions earlier this year.
See the June 6 and April 19 agendas attached to this story.
"The biggest problem I have with this is the system we employed to get to get to this point," Jack Jackson said during his time at the lectern. "I object to redistricting being the topic covered in executive session … I see nothing in the code that allows redistricting to be a topic in executive session."
Angie Crum also had an issue with discussion redistricting in the two executive sessions.
"Whether or not you all had a discussion in executive session it was on the agenda that you all had redistricting," Crum said.
According to county attorney John Framptom, the council did receive legal advice on the redistricting issue but "that's all that was discussed."
"It was purely legal advice," he said, adding that no plans were submitted according to his notes and that legal advice is compliant with the Freedom of Information Act, which allows governing bodies to meet in executive session for that purpose.
Councilman Bill Hearn also said the council received only legal advice. He said it was necessary so the council got redistricting right.
"This is a huge, huge deal," he said.
With the initial public hearing over with, redistricting will now move forward. Here are the next dates as redistricting makes it's way to the U.S. Justice Department:
• 7 p.m. Sept. 6: First reading by county council in Summerville
• 7 p.m. Oct. 3: Second reading by county council and public hearing in St. George
• 7 p.m. Oct. 17: Third reading by county council in St. George