Nashville council members, labor groups push bill for economic development transparency

A group of Nashville council members and labor organizers are pushing for more accountability and transparency as Metro government awards business subsidies. Their bill before the Metro Council would require companies to file a report before subsidies are awarded, detailing the quantity and quality of anticipated jobs. It would also make companies file quarterly progress…


NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for November 15, 2013

From NFOIC:  A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.


Fisher becomes executive director of open government group

From Tennessee Coalition for Open Government: NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government has named Deborah Fisher as its new executive director.

The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization begun 10 years ago to preserve, protect and improve citizen access to public information and open government in Tennessee.


Tennessee open records advocates fear impact of court ruling

From NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Transparency advocates are warning about the ramifications of a recent Tennessee appeals court ruling that “high government officials” can keep documents secret if they deem them part of their decision-making process.


Frank Gibson: No excuse for Hendersonville’s public records saga

From The Tennessean: It has always troubled me that ignorance of the law can be used as a legal defense for not complying with the Tennessee Public Records Act.

That absurdity came back a few weeks ago when The Hendersonville Star News reported on a brouhaha that had been raging for months between Hendersonville city officials and a group of local residents. The issue was whether (and how much) the city could charge to produce copies of public records.


Judge rules emails requested by newspaper should be public, county weighing appeal

From KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A judge has ruled that the Knoxville News Sentinel should have access to Knox County emails it requested under the state’s open records law.

The newspaper reports Blount County Circuit Court Judge David Duggan ruled on Tuesday that nine of the 13 emails in question were public record and the county should release them.

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Sullivan negotiations with teacher groups held without notice, behind closed doors

From Kingsport Times News: BLOUNTVILLE — Collaborative conferencing negotiations among the Sullivan County school system and two teacher groups were held behind closed doors with no public notice last month.

Two groups say that violates Tennessee’s open meetings law, called the “Sunshine Law,” although Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said the public does not have the explicit right to be present for collaborative conferencing.


State open records expert says city law needs do-over

From The Tennessean: A public records battle between the city of Hendersonville and a group of citizens requesting hundreds of pages of documents has prompted the state to weigh in — on the side of the residents.

That means the city will have to reapprove a new records policy. It passed a resolution establishing fees for labor and copying in July, but an opinion from Elisha Hodge of the state’s Office of Open Records Counsel says aldermen must instead pass an ordinance for the changes to become law, as the city charter requires.


Tennessee DCS would charge $35,000 to provide public records

From  NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The state agency that oversees the welfare of Tennessee children is again at financial odds with news organizations seeking more information.

The Tennessean reported the Department of Children’s Services said this week that it would charge $34,952 to produce public records of children who died or nearly died during the past 11 months after having some contact with DCS.