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A trip in doubt: Visit to Boston raises sunshine law questions (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley A week ago today, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, seven of the 11 members of the Charlotte City Council and five of the nine commissioners for Mecklenburg County returned from a three-day trip to Boston — a trip that, according to attorneys, may be in violation of open meetings laws. Council members, though, argue that they did not violate the law, saying no official business was conducted on the Inter City Visit, an invitation-only event organized by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. The trip, which includes panel discussions with Boston city officials and CEOs as well as social events like a duck boat tour and a Red Sox baseball game, is described on the chamber's website as  "an annual trip to a city to learn best practices while getting a firsthand look at that city's innovative ideas, programs and initiatives." “I’m reasonably certain that the open meetings law permits this sort of thing,” Councilman Warren Cooksey said. But others are not so sure.

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