Recent newspaper articles have raised a question whether the executive session meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees held on November 11, 2013, continuing the executive session that was recessed on October 26th, was conducted in accordance with the Virgin Islands Sunshine Law. In response to these articles, I requested the University’s legal counsel, Hall & Griffith, P.C., to review the matter. Based on the response of legal counsel, I am satisfied that it was a lawful meeting.
Nevertheless, in light of the concern that has been raised by the media and the serious nature of that concern, I am scheduling a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University to review and affirm the votes taken in executive session on October 26th and November 11th. The date of that meeting will be publicized. Negotiations by me of a new five-year contract with UVI President David Hall were not completed subsequent to the November 11th meeting of the Board of Trustees. In an abundance of caution, such a contract will not be executed by me pending the reaffirmation of the votes taken in executive session on October 26th and November 11th, even if tentative agreement were reached with President Hall on the terms of the contract.
On November 11th, the Board met to address the subject of a draft contract that would be negotiated and executed with President Hall to take effect at the end of his current five-year contract. On a motion duly made and seconded, the Board voted on October 26th to address this and other matters in executive session in compliance with the Sunshine Law. The executive session on November 11th was a continuation of the executive session meeting that began on October 26th, for which notice was properly and lawfully given to the public. The October 26th meeting was recessed around 3:30 p.m. while still in executive session to be continued on a future date due to the lack of time available to discuss the subject of a proposed new contract for the president. The meeting was recessed in order to allow several of its members to catch their flight back to St. Thomas. The proposed new contract, which was the last item on the agenda, was not discussed on October 26th because of the late time at which the consideration of other matters on the agenda was completed.
Section 254(c)(1) of the Sunshine law allows continuation of an executive session to a future date without requiring the Board to give notice of the date of the continuation of provided the continuation is scheduled within thirty days of the initial session. Thus, I believe that Board acted correctly and within the law, in continuing to meet in executive session on November 11th. Nonetheless, I will proceed as I indicated in the second paragraph above.
Alexander Moorhead, Chair
UVI Board of Trustees