Law Director Advises on Open Meetings Law

Anthony Farris
Youngstown Law Director Anthony Farris.

Following a meeting Monday between Youngstown City Council members and Cardinal Mooney High School’s Board of Directors that local media was barred from attending, City Law Director Anthony Farris said Thursday he planned to remind council members of open meeting obligations.

Farris spoke with our station’s legal counsel and said future meetings with Cardinal Mooney over a possible relocation of the school will be open to the public or Council will not participate.

Monday’s meeting was held at the school and Farris said on Tuesday that even though a majority of council members was at the meeting, the meeting could be behind closed doors. Farris said no official action was taken at the meeting.

Lin Media Senior Counsel Joshua Pila wrote Council President Jamael Tito Brown a letter Monday demanding an apology and the minutes of the meeting. Pila contended in his letter the meeting should have been open to the media because a majority of council was present and it was a prearranged meeting.

Cardinal Mooney has been a fixture at Erie Street and Indianola Avenue on Youngstown’s South Side since 1956. But now, the Youngstown Catholic Diocese faces a difficult decision: Renovate the school building at its current location at an approximate cost of $18 million or build a brand new school in Boardman at an approximate cost of $25 million.

A study by Catholic School Management of Connecticut said Mooney would sustain better enrollment for a longer period of time if it moved, adding 100 students after watching enrollment drop off in recent years. One possible location is on Western Reserve Road in Boardman.

The final decision to stay or go will come from Youngstown Bishop George Murry, who is expected to make a decision by the end of the school year.

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