tntransparency

Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy’

New government transparency project launched

In Advocacy on December 31, 2013 at 11:57 pm

A new open government advocacy project was launched today.

The sister site to the Tennessee Transparency Project can be found at:

http://www.transparencyprojectofgeorgia.com

Transparency more than campaign pledge

In Advocacy on November 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

One of the great ironies of politics is how most candidates in most elections pledge openness, transparency and accessibility during the course of a campaign. Despite those promises, from the courthouse to the statehouse public officials all across the state deliberate the public’s business in private, hide behind executive sessions, orchestrate voting blocs outside of meetings, stall open records requests and the Tennessee General Assembly even exempts itself from the same Open Meeting Act that is binding on local officials. Closed government is poor government regardless of political ideology or party. Voters should take note of all the campaign posturing about transparency in government and when the next General Assembly convenes remind the men and women we have elected of their promises. Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act is good, but not great. Citizens, the media and open government advocates should put pressure on representatives and senators to improve the language in open meetings legislation to define what it means for elected officials to “deliberate” the public’s business outside of an open public meeting. Citizens of Tennessee have every right to always have the expectation that public policy is only being deliberated in open public meetings. The citizens of Tennessee have every right to know not only what decision are reached by elected officials, but how they arrive at those decisions. In addition to the need for more precise language in the act itself, state legislators could prove their commitment to openness in government by enacting legislation that requires the General Assembly itself to be just as open as local government. All government, not just local government, belongs to the governed. 

TN Press highlights Office of Open Records

In Advocacy on October 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Tennessee Press Association Public Policy Director Frank Gibson has highlighted the work being done by the state’s Office of Open Records. Gibson profiles Open Records Counsel Elisha Hodge who sits at the helm of the office that has assisted more than 5,000 Tennesseans in pursuit of greater government transparency. Gibson writes, “Annual reports filed by the Office for 2008-11 showed 4,129 queries and complaints were received over that four-year period. Calls to the office averaged 1,240 annually for the last two years. The 2012 report will be due March 1. More than a majority of OORC calls comes from government, mostly local. Almost half came from citizens and fewer than 8 percent came from the news media.” The full article can be found at: http://www.tnpress.com.

Hodge’s work has been an invaluable resource in open records and open meetings advocacy because of her clear understanding and even handed application of the state’s open meetings and open records legislation. A link to the Office of Open Records can be found in the right hand column on the tntransparency.com main page. 

More editorial content available for free

In Advocacy on May 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm

The Tennessee Transparency Project continues to expand its offerings of free editorials and columns. Editorial content currently available free of charge includes:

• GOVERNMENT BELONGS TO THE GOVERNED

• OPEN GOVERNMENT — RULE OF LAW — ALWAYS ASSUME IT’S OPEN / PUBLIC

• WORKS IN PROGRESS, EVEN BUDGET DRAFTS, ARE PUBLIC RECORDS IN TENNESSEE

• UNDER ATTACK: SUNSHINE LAW BATTLES NOT OVER

* NOT-SO-PUBLIC NOTICES; NOT IN PUBLIC’S INTEREST

• TRANSPARENCY IS NOT REPUBLICAN, NOT DEMOCRAT 

• QUICK BUDGETS SHOULD RAISE QUESTIONS

 All the editorials,under the tab “EDITORIALS FOR PUBLICATION,” along with any content found at tntransparency.com is available for free. Publishers can use the content in part or whole and with or without attribution. The only agenda of the Tennessee Transparency Project is to hold public officials accountable while advocating for openness in government.