Teague said he never asked district commissioners to sign a confidentiality agreement. Some of them signed behind closed doors, while others took away the document. „While the district commission can go to a closed meeting to discuss economic development, the information they learn there, they are not required by law to keep it confidential,“ Mulligan said. „The only way for a company to have absolute confidence, to remain confidential, is to send a secret.“ These agreements require more confidentiality than the statutes require, Martin said, and „that`s the problem. I think they are essentially asking officials to break the Public Records Act. When Teague presented the confidentiality agreements, Deutsch said he had assured the commissioners that signing was not mandatory. Although unprecedented in Buncombe County, the practice of elected officials signing confidentiality agreements is somewhat commonplace, according to Mulligan, the N.C. School of Associated Government. „One thing I would like to highlight is the Public Recordings Act, which defines the confidentiality obligations of public servants,“ Martin said. He also set a deadline of up to two years in which they could not talk about the agreement, although the four who signed and counsel for the commissioners deny that once a business is made public, confidentiality is no longer necessary.
Companies that negotiate or collaborate with governments and economic development agencies are calling for confidentiality agreements for „a specific legal reason,“ Tyler Mulligan, an associate professor at the North Carolina School of Government who specializes in economic development issues. County commission lawyer Bob Deutsch said all details of an agreement will eventually be made public and the board of directors must vote on the deal at a public meeting with notice. In German, Martin objected to the characterization that the confidentiality agreement might not be legal. (b) ensure that persons who receive confidential information in accordance with paragraph (a) apply a strict standard of confidentiality to avoid any breach of its obligations. „I`m not going to have a problem with elected officials having a document saying, „I`m going to comply with the confidentiality requirements of state law,““ Martin said, adding that the agreement added another level. Buncombe`s decision to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of an employer`s landing efforts is a first for Buncombe and raises the question of whether an economic agreement leaves the public in the dark.