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Commissioners fight KnoxNews open meetings suit

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Central-KY-Kid, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Not sure I give a damn, but anyhoo ...


    Commissioners fight open meetings suit
    By News Sentinel staff
    February 20, 2007

    Knox County commissioners took a step today against settling a News Sentinel lawsuit that accuses the County Commission of violating the state open-meetings law when it appointed 12 people to term-limited offices.
    Commissioner Mark Harmon asked commission's Intergovernmental Committee to put a proposed settlement on the agenda for Monday's monthly commission meeting.

    Commission Chairman Scott Moore said he wanted to fight the lawsuit and proposed that commissioners go into executive session to discuss the matter with Law Director John Owings.

    A vote on Moore's motion deadlocked, and the committee voted 5-4 against putting the matter on Monday's agenda.

    "If we go along with what the lawsuit wants us to do, we're admitting guilt," Commissioner Paul Pinkston said. "I don't feel we broke the Sunshine Law."

    Commissioners appointed eight new commissioners and a new sheriff, county clerk, trustee and register of deeds on Jan. 31 in a three-hour meeting punctuated by recesses and private discussions.

    The News Sentinel sued on Feb. 5, saying commission deliberated on its decisions privately and, therefore, illegally.

    The appointments included one commissioner's son, another's father and another's wife.

    News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy said today that the newspaper has offered to drop its lawsuit if commissioners conduct the appointments in an open public meeting.

    "It's basically what the law allows," McElroy said. "The remedy that is permitted under the Sunshine Law is that a judge can order a body to go back in and redo it as a public meeting. ... If they will go back in and redo it as a public meeting — and they'll be enjoined from violating the Sunshine Law — then we'll drop the suit."

    The lawsuit, filed in Chancery Court, lists McElroy as the plaintiff and 20 current and former commissioners as defendants. The commissioners are being sued both as individuals and as a government body.

    The News Sentinel is seeking to void all Jan. 31 appointments made by commissioners and have a permanent injunction laid down requiring all future deliberations be made in public.

    More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.
  2. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    This never happens to the Big Ten, only the SEC
  4. Well played.
  5. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Fetch me a beer, newbie.
  6. And I didn't even have to ask/order you/downsize your face with a shovel.

  7. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

  8. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    Not sure why you should care? It's a tremendously important issue that newspaper folks should feel passionately about. Open meeting and public records laws should be considered sacred for the likes of us. Our paper is currently suing the local sheriff to turn over material from the jail after a guy died after an alleged beating in the booking room. I wouldn't post the link here, but it's a big hairy deal.
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