Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Some GOOD Open Govt News

Wow...This is GOOD news. Several Oak Ridge local Government officials and Sen. Randy McNally speak up in favor of Open Government and in opposition to changes that would close the door on open government. Sen McNally's support is critical since he chairs one of the key committees. The most damaging change proposed would change the "two person rule." This rule states that anytime two or more govt officials meet to deliberate or make decisions about public policy they must notify the public and press. This rule has served us well for more than 30 years and there is NO good reason to change it. If they are simply exchanging information they can meet anytime, anywhere but if they actually start the process of deliberating and making decisions then they must do so in a public meeting.


"That's not something I would be in favor of," said state Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge. He chairs the state's Open Government Committee, which could hear the subcommittee's recommendation in November.

The proposal, probably the most controversial so far, would also have to be considered by the Tennessee General Assembly before being adopted, McNally said.

Anderson County Commission Chairman Myron Iwanski said he would probably oppose the recommended change, although he has not seen the legislation.

Under the changed definition, eight of the 16 members of the Anderson County Commission could gather in private to talk about public business.

"I'm not in favor of allowing eight commissioners to meet in secret to discuss issues," Iwanski said.

In Oak Ridge, meanwhile, three City Council members could meet privately if the change were adopted.

Beehan and McNally said the current "two or more" standard seems to be working well and doesn't need to be altered.