Transparency News 12/31/18



December 31, 2018



The newsletter will take a break tomorrow to recover from ringing in the new year.
See you on Jan. 2, 2019!

state & local news stories




Follow the legislation that VCOG follows on our annual bill chart.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority has, for now, avoided competition for non-emergency transports that help financially support its crucial emergency service. City Council followed a committee recommendation in voting 9-0 on Dec. 17 to kill an ordinance sought by Mayor Levar M. Stoney to allow an Atlanta-based company to operate an ambulance service for non-emergency transports in the city and take business from the authority. Mayor Stoney apparently was following the recommendation of Richmond Fire Chief Melvin Carter. So far, Chief Carter has not provided an explanation to City Council or to the public for his recommendation to allow Western-Star Ambulance Authority’s operating arm, Metro Health EMS, to compete with the city’s ambulance authority. Chief Carter, as well as City Attorney Allen L. Jackson and Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn, have not responded to a Dec. 7 request by the Free Press for the information. The request, filed under the Freedom of Information Act, requested copies of documents issued by Chief Carter in support of his finding that a “public necessity” exists to allow Metro Health to operate ambulances in the city.
Richmond Free Press

Roanoke City Councilman John Garland notified the city that he intends to resign in response to a conflict of interest related to his job as a developer. Garland sent an email Thursday night to the six other members of the council as well as the city manager and city attorney, notifying them that an intractable conflict with the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority has led him to resign. The issue is the final of several conflicts of interest, or perceived conflicts, that have dogged Garland since his election in 2016 because of his many business dealings in the city.
The Roanoke Times

Danville will consider Thursday night whether to join two other Virginia cities to convince the General Assembly to legalize casinos in the commonwealth. Vice Mayor Lee Vogler told the Danville Register & Bee on Sunday that representatives in the industry have expressed an interest in Danville. Casinos are illegal in Virginia and there are no concrete plans for one in the city. United Company of Bristol, a former coal company, first pitched the idea to City Council in October during closed session. Subsequent discussions of the possibility of a casino took place during closed meetings because they pertained to economic development, said City Manager Ken Larking.
Register & Bee


stories of national interest

A federal lawsuit is being filed by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard against the U.S. Department of Justice in the case of a man who was shot 59 times by federal and local law enforcement officials in August 2016. Jamarion Robinson, 26, was killed in his girlfriend's East Point apartment while authorities were attempting to serve a warrant on Robinson in which he allegedly fired a gun at police in a prior incident. According to a press advisory, the DA's office will file a federal lawsuit Friday against the Department of Justice for failure to provide information in the Robison case requested through the Freedom of Information Act. Howard is filing the lawsuit against the department for what he calls "its failure to provide information requested through the Freedom of Information Act related to the death."
Atlanta Patch