Valdosta Daily Times leading way in open government

The state's first Open Government Symposium will be held in Macon Friday. The free event kicks off a series of symposiums to be held around the state of Georgia in an effort to incubate a culture of government transparency, according to organizers.

Valdosta Daily Times Editor Jim Zachary, who is director of the Transparency Project of Georgia, and colleague Holly Manheimer, who is the director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, have organized the symposium and will provide the training while sharing their experiences in open government advocacy.

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Open meetings case sends strong message

Newspapers, government watchdog groups and open government advocates across the state of Georgia have cheered the recent decision of Forsyth County Superior Court requiring the city of Cumming and its mayor, Henry Ford Gravitt, to shell out $6,000 each for violations of the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

The prosecution of the city and mayor has been extolled as a victory for Attorney General Sam Olens. It has been a a victory for the blogger, Nydia Tisdale, whose rights to video tape a city council meeting were abridged.

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Opinion: When government draws the shades

Several recent events in North Georgia involving government transparency — or the lack thereof — prompted friends and colleagues in other parts of the country to ask whether I am living in some 18th century time warp, as they frequently perceive this portion of the country, where absolutists reign with absolute disregard for their subjects.

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Georgia Attorney General Prevails In Lawsuit Defending Open Government

Judge Robert Adamson ruled in favor of Attorney General Sam Olens in a lawsuit filed in June 2012 against the City of Cumming and Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt for violations of the Open Meetings Act. Judge Adamson ordered the defendants to pay $12,000 in penalties, the highest amount possible under the law. Defendants have also been ordered to pay attorney's fees in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

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