Transparency News 10/23/19



October 23, 2019


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state & local news stories


"The update comes after The Virginian-Pilot scrutinized the timeline presented by police."

Virginia Beach Police have corrected and clarified their timeline of the events of the May 31 mass shooting that left 12 people dead and five, including a police officer, injured. The update comes after The Virginian-Pilot scrutinized the timeline presented by police and sent a series of questions about the shooting update they provided the media, families and City Council on Sept. 24, said city spokeswoman Julie Hill in a statement.  The updates are typical of the investigative process, said Deputy Chief Pat Gallagher in the statement. “In some instances, we have conflicting data, which is the case here, between the suspect’s phone data and the vehicle locator data,” he said. “As a rule, we give preference to data from a personal item, like a cellphone. The updated timeline reflects the best information we have today.” Among the events clarified or corrected in the timeline:     The time at which the shooter sent an email.     The time at which he shot and killed the victim at the bottom of the first floor stairwell.     The time at which the shooter entered the third floor, where he killed five people.
The Virginian-Pilot

The Warren County Board of Supervisors has scheduled a 10 a.m. Friday special meeting to consider “the employment of counsel to defend” themselves against a recently filed petition seeking their removal from office, according to a notice sent out by Deputy Clerk of the Board Emily Mounce. Filed Oct. 18 in Warren County Circuit Court by attorney Timothy Johnson, the petition contained 941 signatures — all of the necessary signatures needed for such a request. The petition was filed less that one month after all five supervisors – Archie Fox, Tom Sayre, Dan Murray, Linda Glavis and Tony Carter – were each indicted on two misdemeanor counts of misfeasance and one misdemeanor count of nonfeasance stemming from their alleged lack of oversight of former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
The Northern Virginia Daily

Tensions boiled over at a Tuesday community meeting about recent threats at E. C. Glass High School, school safety and how parents were notified about what occurred. More than 200 people filled the seats in Glass’ auditorium looking for answers. Superintendent Crystal Edwards publicly announced the 5 p.m. meeting hours earlier in the day, meant to update and discuss with the community what happened during the previous 24 hours that led to increased police presence at Glass and a number of students staying home from school. Lynchburg City Schools alerted parents Monday night about increased police presence at its two high schools because of a social media post, and the Lynchburg Police Department announced plans for increased presence at “a local school” Monday night. Parents and others at the meeting were persistent in getting answers that weren’t provided at the outset of the meeting. Mentions of fights at Glass the previous week and potential gang involvement didn’t surface until an open mic Q&A session that closed out the meeting, which lasted 2½ hours.
The News & Advance


stories of national interest

A group which pushes for transparency in local government is offering mixed reviews of the municipalities they contacted, seeking information through New York State's Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL. The Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government recently sent FOIL requests to 16 local governments in Erie and Niagara Counties, seeking copies of emails and text messages exchanged between elected officials.

D.C. Council members convened an ad hoc committee Tuesday, stressing that transparency will be a priority as the panel proceeds with its ethics investigation of council member Jack Evans. “Anything we do, as far as I am concerned, the presumption is that it is open and available to the public,” said council member Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat and chair of the ad hoc committee. The 13-member council voted unanimously Tuesday on a resolution giving the committee subpoena power and directing it to offer recommendations within 90 days of receiving a law firm’s investigative report on Mr. Evans. The resolution also authorizes the general counsel to enforce subpoenas if witnesses fail to comply with them.
The Washington Times

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was not required to disclose information about a test taken by aspiring air traffic controllers to an applicant who failed and suspected that others had cheated. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the minimum score applicants must receive to pass the test, and the score that plaintiff Jorge Rojas received when he failed it in 2014, fell under an exemption in the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information “related solely to (an agency’s) internal personnel rules and practices.”


quote_2.jpgThe score an air traffic controller received on an FAA-administered exam "related solely to (an agency’s) internal personnel rules and practices” and could be withheld under federal FOIA.