Megan Rhyne's blog

Public departures/private reasons

A story and an editorial from the Lynchburg News & Advance about high-profile resignations that leave more questions than answers.
In Amherst County, the county administrator abruptly resigned in a closed-door session. No one's talking, so the public has no idea what happened.
In Appomattox, it was the school board superintendent.

Secret lawsuit settlement amounts

An edited version of this article appeared Sunday, May 31, in the Roanoke Times

Let's settle this thing

by Megan Rhyne

Two juveniles held in a Newport News detention center claim they were raped by two other residents. The two boys sued the city, saying the city was at fault because the facility was too crowded and did not separate juveniles based on size or other factors.

Liberty U. v. college Dems.

  Below is a round-up of stories and editorials related to the decision by Liberty University to revoke university recognition of a student Democratic Party club.

Public bodies, lawyers & confidential settlements

The City of Newport News has recently settled a lawsuit brought by two youths at a juvenile facility who were raped by two of their fellow inmates. The amount of the settlement is not being released because the settlement and its terms have been sealed.

Of course, settlements don't seal themselves, and judges don't seal settlements without the parties first suggesting it.

Asked, then, why they agreed to a clause that keeps secret the amount the taxpayers will pay to settle this lawsuit, here's what the Newport News City Council members had to say:

Va. laws take hit in court

It's been a tough few weeks for the Commonwealth.

Despite being fought over by the candidates for president and vice president like she was the Corn Festival Queen, Virginia's had to endure the rains of Hanna, the price gouging of Ike and the scorn of the New York Times over its student voter-registration policies.

FOI Advisory Council subcommittee on meeting minutes


NOTE: The subcommittee was convened to study whether a change needs to be made to the minutes requirement of FOIA. 2.2-3707(I): "...Minutes shall include, but are not limited to, (i) the date, time, and location of the meeting; (ii) the members of the public body recorded as present and absent; and (iii) a summary of the discussion on matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken."

FOI Advisory Council subcommittee on e-meetings


VPA's initial objection was that the section eliminated the quorum requirement and said members could participate regardless of whether the public could attend.

It seemed that DEQ was creating for itself a lower bar than anyone else conducting electronic meetings.

Sticking point with DEQ is really the quorum issue.

Legislature '08: partly cloudy with rays of sunshine

(though it says above that this was written by Megan Rhyne, it wasn't. It was written by VCOG Executive Director Jennifer Perkins, but thanks to a Web-updating quirk, Megan's name was inadvertently added.)

The 2008 Virginia General Assembly session has started out with a bang. By my count, there are at least 60 bills to fight, amend and track for changes. It's going to be a busy season for access advocates. See our list of bills we are tracking this year.

In Penn., where to vote's a poorly kept secret

Note: The governor rescinded the policy Friday after the story broke.

I never thought of Pennsylvania as a particularly nutty place. You can’t get much more sober and sane than Philly’s Main Line neighborhoods, Pittsburgh’s serious steel making and the Amish, for heaven’s sake.

But the people running the state’s elections, bolstered by equally nutty folks at the state police, Emergency Management Agency and the state Office of Homeland Security, have lost their marbles!

Recessive behavior

Over the weekend, the Roanoke Times reported that the Salem City Council took an expensive retreat to a West Virginia resort to talk city business in more comfortable climes.

Out-of-town retreats are nothing new. Though not particularly public-friendly to begin with, at least most local governments who favor these jaunts keep them close by or at least in-state. But a West Virginia resort?


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