National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government presents Sunshine Hero award

From Columbia Daily Herald:  One Maury Countian’s fight for government transparency in his community has garnered him state recognition.

Spring Hill resident Mike Bennett, a longtime Daily Herald columnist and community activist, was awarded the first ever Tennessee Sunshine Hero award by the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government at the annual Tennessee Press Association awards ceremony Friday.

Bennett’s efforts to improve transparency in Maury County are unrivaled — a perfect example of the power of an informed populace, said TCOG Director Kent Flanagan. Flanagan selected Bennett from a number of nominees for the award this year based on what the TCOG director witnessed himself at a meeting of the county commission’s ad hoc rule committee last winter.

It was there that Bennett attempted to inform the rules committee it had erred by failing to properly notify the public of the meeting. Because of the catch, the county had to repeat the meeting to ensure the law was followed.

“That meeting solidified in my mind the kind of effort that citizens in Maury County needed to allow more input to the county government and city government,” Flanagan said in his introduction to the award Friday. “You need to be able to show people that they can make a difference. I think that Mike’s work is evidence of that.”

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government is a member of NFOIC. –eds.