Community of Concerned Clergy, Phenix City Board of Education head to court

Published: Nov. 3, 2014 at 10:52 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2014 at 11:59 AM EST
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The Community of Concerned Clergy took their concerns about the hiring of Phenix City Superintendent Randy Wilkes to the courtroom. The group met with the board's attorney and a judge on Monday, Nov. 3 to schedule the next steps.

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - A preliminary hearing date was set for November 17. The scheduling conference comes after two judges recused themselves and the PCBOE attorney who responded to the group's suit stepped down. It's a process that's been going on for around five months.

"The children, the school system, the community has a stake in this and quite frankly the entire community is really at risk," explained 

Dr. Isaac Hudson, the sole plaintiff listed on the Community of Concerned Clergy.

Attorneys for the Community of Concerned Clergy and the Phenix City Board of Education met in front of a judge for the first time. The goal after six months of paperwork: to set a preliminary hearing date. The concerned clergy members filed suit in June after claiming that the PCBOE violated Alabama's Open Meetings Law by meeting with now Superintendent, Randy Wilkes, one-on-one. The board responded in July, asking for the claims to be dismissed. 

Yet, in two weeks, both parties will get a chance to tell their sides of the story.

"I think when the hearing begins or the preceedings begin, hopefully we'll hear arguments from both sides whether there's been a violation of Open Meetings Act," explained Community of Concerned Clergy member Noble Williams.

Retired Chambers County judge Howard Bryan was appointed in August to hear the case after both Russell County Circuit Judges recused themselves. Clergy members call today's scheduling conference a step in the right direction.

"Where we've been so far, with two judges recusing themselves, it left us with a place where we didn't know where it stood," Dr. Johnnie Robinson said. "But now we're very clear now with where it stands and where it can go from here."

The preliminary hearing was set for two weeks on November 17 at 10 a.m Eastern Time. That hearing will also take place at the Russell County Judicial Center. The courtroom has not yet been determined. Count on News Leader Nine to continue following this developing story.

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