Open task force good, FOIA expert says

The chairman of the Virginia Press Associationís Freedom of Information Committee believes Suffolkís city attorneyís advice to hold meetings of a new task force in the open is on the right side of the law.

ìYouíre doing the publicís business, and any reason not to have it public should be very narrowly defined,î said Dick Hammerstrom, whoís also an editor at The Free-Lance Star in Fredericksburg. ìTheyíre spending the publicís money, and they want to decide how to spend it privately. It just goes against any concept of open government. The public would want to know what theyíre deciding, especially because it involves the education of their children.î

The new Joint City/School Task Force includes two members each from the City Council and the School Board, appointed by the mayor and School Board chairman, respectively. It was established after City Council members, including Mike Duman, recommended the idea. Duman had hoped the meetings would be closed to the public, believing it would encourage more candid discussion. Continue>>>