HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Schools board members were urged to discuss public decisions, including the use of public money at a meeting Wednesday.
The RFQ Selection Committee Meeting began at 4 p.m. The acronym, RFQ, stands for Request for Qualifications. The meeting Wednesday surrounded decisions on the new school designs for the district.
Wednesday's meeting was meant for committee members, to receive a better understanding of how they'll select the right firm to design and build the new county schools but that's not all they got.
"Be very, very, very specific, that the things that are discussed by this attorney or others that you bring in, to that closed room, are absolutely, positively, necessary, to be kept secret, to hold the integrity, of this process," John Poston said.
Board of Education Member John Poston, from District 8, voiced concerns that public matters are being discussed behind closed doors. Decisions surrounding contractors for the new schools, architect teams and school designs should be made public, Poston said.
Those in attendance also addressed the school board about how they handle issues, equal representation on the board and money.
Currently, a separate committee, consisting of five board members, serve on the RFQ Selection Committee.
The five members include Holly Heniford, Sherrie Todd, Ray Winters, David Cox and Neil James. In addition, district employees Daryl Brown, Mark Wolfe, Janice Christi, James LaPierre and Denis McCrary also serve on the selection committee.
Chairman Joe Defeo was also in attendance.
Defeo is not on the committee, but chose to attend the meeting.
Poston's biggest worry, too many decisions are being made in executive session.
"They're going to wait for an answer they will never know, because they can't hear why. they can't know why we are doing what we are doing," Poston explained.
Poston wanted to remind the selection committee of their right to discuss their plans for horry county schools in public, something he is says he is eager to hear.
"But I will not, under any circumstance, walk with you into executive session, to do the business, of horry county schools, behind closed doors, using public funds, and being non-transparent," Poston said.
As Poston exited the room, the committee did vote to go into executive session under the advice of attorney and horry county school's consultant, Bick Halligan.
Advice, Chairman Joe Defeo, agreed with.
"Just needed to get the legal advice of how this process works, and quite frankly, had to be informed and told, board members reminded, that some of this process we need to be quiet. because this is a selection process," Defeo said
Defeo says these committee members will be told crucial information, which could win a firm the bid if leaked.
John Poston's other concern, why board members were on the RFQ selection committee because they have not been in the past.
"What we are doing is trying to get the board more involved. where in the past we formulated policies only," Defeo said.
Chairman Joe Defeo said they want the board to take a more "hands-on" approach this time around.
He feels if board members were on the first board for the RFQ for this project, they would have never had to start over.