In a special investigation to mark Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of government openness, Carolina Public Press probed the closed sessions held by Western North Carolina’s county boards of commissioners in 2014.

In a monthlong investigation, CPP asked the state’s 18 westernmost counties to release all unsealed minutes of closed sessions they convened last year. Responses varied, with some counties releasing substantial selections of minutes and some releasing none at all.

Below are the unsealed minutes that have been released thus far. Officials with some area counties said they will be reviewing last year’s closed minutes soon to consider unsealing additional records; as CPP obtains them, we’ll add them here.









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Jon Elliston is the lead contributing open government reporter at Carolina Public Press. Contact him at

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  1. I am an activist in Watauga County. I recently made a public record request to inspect the closed session minutes. It took months to get a reply. I thought it was because the county was getting the attorney to review the minutes to bring them up to date. However, that was not the case. When I arrived today to inspect, I found they have a rule that they only up date them once a year. And, I found out they are in electronic format and I paid $5 to have them put on a disk. I asked for these minutes so that I could file my own complaint. I appreciate what you guys are doing. Contact me. I can be of assistance.