Paint Rock tries to ban media and out-of-towners from meetings

WAAY 31 talked to the Mayor to get to the bottom of the proposal.

Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 4:13 PM
Updated: Jun. 12, 2018 11:17 PM

The Mayor of Paint Rock Alabama tried to block the media, and anyone not from Paint Rock, from attending city council meetings.

The Jackson County Sentinel first reported the story on Friday.

According to the Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill, doing that breaks the law.

WAAY 31's Kody Fisher went to the city council meeting in Paint Rock Tuesday and was let in without any issues. 

Paint Rock is a town sitting along Highway 72 Between Scottsboro and Huntsville.

More than two hundred people live here.

Johnathon Counts has lived in the his whole life and has known Mayor Brenda Fisk for several years.

"She has a very good head on her shoulders," said Counts.

That is why he said the mayor wasn't trying to do anything shady by blocking the media, and others, from meetings.

"If anything I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that it's just fresh to her. It's new," said Counts.

Mayor Fisk told WAAY 31 she originally proposed the idea in January, because she remembers meetings back in 2013 when the town's police department was disbanded.

"The media was brought in and it made this town a circus," said Fisk.

She wanted to avoid the circus, but after consulting an attorney she found out her proposed policy would break the law.

"It's on me. I did it all. Nobody has approved anything. It is not policy. It will not be policy and we do not stand at the door and tell you you can, or cannot, enter. Everybody's welcome," said Fisk.

"I think it is a very large learning curve and I believe that on any move that they ever do from here on out should be consulted with the league of municipalities and maybe an attorney on retainer," said Counts.

Mayor Fisk told WAAY 31 she thought the reporter from the Jackson County Sentinel was a scam phone call, which is why she told the reporter last Friday meetings were only for people from Paint Rock and everyone else could stand outside.

The reporter from the news paper told WAAY 31 he properly identified himself over the phone and beside showing up to show Mayor Fisk his press badge he doesn't know how else he could have made it clear he was a real reporter.

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