Bibb residents ask court to reconsider ruling in secret land buys

Two Bibb County residents who sued the county commission alleging it violated the state’s Open Meetings Act have asked a court to reconsider its ruling.

In April, Houston County Superior Court Judge George Nunn ruled that the commission did not violate the law when it voted in secret to buy land near the county jail for a new courthouse.

Residents Michael Ryan and Lindsay Holliday filed a motion for reconsideration June 11, saying the court erred in its interpretation of the law and by dismissing their complaint before they could present evidence, according to court documents.

The residents also ask that the court award them reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation costs associated with the lawsuit. Lee Johnson, a third party to the original lawsuit, was not included in the motion.

The residents argue that the Open Meetings Act should be interpreted broadly, and, therefore, does not allow votes pertaining to buying property to be taken behind closed doors.

The county argues that the act does not specifically say a vote must be taken in public when discussing property acquisition and that commissioners followed the law.

In his ruling, Nunn also said the commission must abide by laws requiring that minutes reporting a private vote be released in a timely fashion. Information that may identify the property may be omitted, he said.