Sunday, December 02, 2007

Local Govts favor CLOSED records

Todd Foster, managing editor for the Bristol Herald Courier, tells how difficult it has been to collect salary data from local governments. These are the same local government officials who want to weaken open meetings and open records laws. A BIG thank YOU to Todd and his staff for their persistence in gathering this information.

I am sure that Alamo Mayor Tommy Green, who is the President of TN Municipal League, will get on the phone immediately and admonish the local officials who stonewalled these open records requests....or not?


Several others thumbed their nose at state law for months and had to be threatened with lawsuits.

THESE WERE not idle threats. Our attorneys were waiting in the wings to sue jurisdictions that failed to turn over these public records. And had we sued, we also would have tried to recoup our attorney fees.

To this day, the city of Johnson City, Tenn., has not fully complied with our FOIA request because it never provided us with first names, only initials. It even took Johnson City four months to provide us with the salaries, and even then, the city demanded in exchange that we share with it the data from the other jurisdictions.

We refused and kindly informed Johnson City that if it wanted the data, it could file FOIAs with the other 64 agencies, like we did.