PACRO Takes No Action Due to Violating Open Meetings Law

Aug 29, 2013

Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler, right, coordinates schedules with fellow PACRO board members on Thursday, Aug. 29 while trying to reschedule meetings for next week at the Commerce Center. Thursday's special meeting was invalid because no agenda was sent prior to the meeting.
Credit John Paul Henry

Meeting legality and procedure led discussion Thursday at a special called Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization (PACRO) board meeting, instead of deciding who will next run the organization.

The organization's uncertain administration situation remains as a round of United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) layoffs approaches in October. PACRO's charge is to mitigate the effects of more than 1,000 layoffs at the federally owned plant.   

The board was not able to vote on the administrator proposals yesterday as both Purchase Area Development District and the PACRO board learned that their rescheduled meeting is considered a special meeting under the Kentucky Open Meetings and Open Records Law. Special meetings require 24-hour public notice, including the press, and including an agenda.

No agenda was sent prior to a PACRO's Thursday meeting. The board recognized and admitted the error, and did not take any official action.

"Well I think the most important thing we do as elected officials and as any kind of public official is to be open and transparent with the public and resetting these meetings will do that," Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler said. "It shows that, 'Okay, we made a mistake, and we want to rectify that.'"

This comes on the heels of a special PACRO committee meeting Wednesday in which there was no agenda, and the committee erroneously entered executive session, barring members of the media, to hear public proposals from the Greater Paducah Economic Development Cabinent (PED) and the McCracken County Fiscal Court to administer PACRO.

Both PED and the fiscal court refused to make their respective proposals public Wednesday.

On Thursday PED made its proposal public. PED would: charge 10% on all assets sold through PACRO, require a four year contract, and if in those four years GLE (GE Hitatchi's-Global Laser Enrichment) has not commenced work on its manufacturing facility, or if PED hasn't secured $1,000,000 from the sale of site assets, then it will surrender the contract.

The fiscal court's proposal includes: creating separate and isolated accounts to manage all PACRO funds, requiring $150,000 annually, $50,000 of which will be retained by the County, and $100,000 will be paid to PED to operate the Reuse program.

In an statement to the PACRO board, McCracken County Judge Executive Van Newberry urged the board to consider the PED proposal.

"We're not in competition with each other, and certainly PED's mission is job development, which falls in line with PACRO's," Newberry said. "So take a look at them and there will be no hard feelings if we're not selected."

The contract negotiation committee is rescheduled to meet Tuesday. A special PACRO board meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, in which the board is expected to vote on the new administrator and discuss replacing the PACRO Chairman Jerry Hoover. Both meetings are at the Commerce Center in Paducah.