Transparency News, 11/23/2022



November 23, 2022

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state & local news stories


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Portsmouth City Manager Tonya Chapman is calling for an independent investigation and potential forensic audit, alleging that around $80,000 in COVID-19 relief money might not have been accounted for under her predecessor. In a work session before the City Council meeting Tuesday, Chapman said an internal investigation has found that thousands of dollars in gift cards — earmarked for direct relief to seniors and other residents struggling from the impacts of the pandemic — weren’t securely stored or might not have been properly accounted for under Angel Jones, whom Chapman replaced this summer. Chapman said it’s unclear whether the gift card distribution violated city policy, but that she’s reported the so-called “improprieties” to “proper authorities.” She said the list of residents who received the cards included duplicate names and IDs, and whether they received more than one card is still being investigated.
The Virginian-Pilot

stories of national interest

A member of the Maine Right-To-Know Committee, which advises the legislature on the state’s Freedom of Access laws, said on Thursday that some public records requests are "hate speech," and have been "weaponized" to target LGBTQ students. "I believe as a member of the Freedom of Information committee and representative of public schools, school boards and superintendents, we need to address this, and not allow FOIA to be weaponized, and I underscore the word weaponized, against the population of kids it is our obligation and desire to serve," Victoria Wallack said. "Personally, I believe these FOIA requests are just another form of hate speech."  Wallack’s comments came after activist Shawn McBreairty’s testimony to the committee about the cost and delays in submitting public records requests from Maine’s public schools. McBreairty said during the public comment period that when he asked Maine-based School Board of Regional School Unit 22 (RSU22) questions about anti-racism, Black Lives Matter and critical race theory, the district responded with a quote of over $21,000 and approximately 305 hours to conduct the search.
Fox News