Transparency News 11/20/18



November 20, 2018


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state & local news stories

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Two employees in the Virginia Department of Social Services headquarters office were put on administrative leave this week during an investigation by an outside consultant into allegations of workplace harassment. After an Oct. 11 story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported on the allegations, a senior manager at the agency sent an email to a colleague appearing to dismiss the issue, according to records obtained by The Times-Dispatch through a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request. “Should hopefully fade away,” DSS Deputy Commissioner Craig Burshem wrote to another DSS employee on Oct. 11 about the allegations, saying he had already spoken to the agency’s human resources director.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

In an update from the state’s assessment in June, the regional social services director presented results from a review of Pittsylvania County’s child welfare department conducted on Sept. 26. Piedmont Regional Director Penny Hall provided the board with a copy of a report providing data from the department, ranging from client numbers to financial expenditures. Starting next February, the state department will have an online dashboard available to the directors of the local social services department that will have local data aggregated quarterly to show trends.
Martinsville Bulletin

In October, white people were 4.5 percent more likely than black people to be arrested in encounters with Charlottesville police, according to data presented to City Council Monday. Police Chief RaShall Brackney provided a detailed report of city stop-and-frisk data at Monday’s City Council meeting, which covered stops from October. Combined with data presented last month, 148 people have been stopped by police. Of those, 82 were white and 66 were black. Thirty-nine percent of black people stopped were arrested and 46 percent of white people were arrested. Council signed off on the format of the data during the meeting on Monday. Brackney said she will begin posting monthly data next month. It will be posted within 15 business days of the start of the month and be for the previous month.
The Daily Progress


national stories of interest

Ivanka Trump repeatedly used a personal email account to conduct government business in 2017, a White House review found, a fact that raises the stakes on congressional oversight hearings that the new Democratic House majority will hold. Ms. Trump’s email use, much of which first came to light last year, included exchanges on her personal account with cabinet secretaries, as well as forwards of schedules to her assistant, a person familiar with the emails said.
The New York Times
Ivanka Trump’s lawyer is hitting back against “misinformation being peddled” in the press alleging that the president’s daughter sent “hundreds” of emails about government business using her personal email. A report published Monday night by The Washington Post claimed that Trump, who serves as her father’s senior adviser, may have violated federal records rules by using a personal email account to contact “White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistant” concerning government matters, as well as her personal travel arrangements. The newspaper's story, which cites people familiar with the records who reviewed them amid a public records lawsuit, contains no indication that any of Trump's emails contained classified or sensitive government information.
Fox News

The Justice Department has discussed the possibility that federal law protecting the confidentiality of responses to the U.S. census may eventually be reconsidered, an internal Trump administration email shows. Sharing individuals' census information with law enforcement and national security officers may "come up later for renewed debate," a former Justice Department official suggested in a June 12 email discussing an Obama-era memo issued by the department's Office of Legal Counsel. The email, first reported by NPR on Nov. 17, was submitted last Friday to the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California in a court filing by Andrew Case, an attorney with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.